In 2004, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children using Australian Government supported child care services was 1.8%. Of all Indigenous children in Australian Government supported child care services, 51% were in long day care centres, 16% were in before/after school care and 9% were in family day care. The corresponding proportions for other Australian children were 59%, 25% and 14% respectively.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were over-represented in the child protection systems across most of Australia, with rates of Indigenous children in substantiations 11 times the rate for other children in Victoria and 9 times the rate in Western Australia. Across Australia, the rate of Indigenous children being placed under care and protection orders and in out-of-home care was seven times the rate for other children. Around two-thirds of children in out-of-home care were placed with Indigenous relatives/kin (37%) or with other Indigenous caregivers (27%). These are the preferred placements under the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle that has been adopted by all jurisdictions.
The rates of juvenile justice supervision for young people aged 10-17 years show high levels of over-representation of Indigenous youth. In 2005-06 there were 44 Indigenous youth per 1,000 under juvenile justice supervision compared with 3 per 1,000 for non-Indigenous youth. Most young people under juvenile justice supervision were in community-based supervision rather than detention. Indigenous youth comprised a larger share of those in detention (45%) than those under community supervision (38%). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were younger, on average, than non-Indigenous young people when first placed under juvenile justice supervision.
In 2005-06, 7,182 people, or 3% of those receiving Commonwealth/State/Territory Disability Agreement funded services were Indigenous. The proportion of Indigenous people who use disability services is relatively low given that the rate of disability in the Indigenous population is almost twice the rate of disability in the non-Indigenous population. Indigenous service users were more likely than non-Indigenous users to report a physical disability as their primary disability, acquired brain injury or developmental delay. Disability service users who were Indigenous were younger than other service users, with a median age of 25 years compared with a median age of 32 years for non-Indigenous users.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were also more likely than other Australians to utilise aged care services at younger ages, consistent with the poorer health status and lower life expectancy for this population. Of those admitted to permanent or respite residential care during 2005-06, almost 35% were less than 65 years of age, compared with fewer than 4% of other Australians. Of all Indigenous Australians receiving Community Aged Care Packages at 30 June 2006, 36% were less than 65 years of age and 20% were aged 75 years or over. The corresponding rates for other HACC clients were 4% and 63% respectively.