In 2004, the proportion of Australian Government supported child care services used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children was 2%; Indigenous children used these services at less than half the rate for non-Indigenous children. 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. This compared to 59%, 25% and 14% of other children respectively.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were over-represented in the child protection systems across most of Australia, with ratios of 10:1 in Victoria and 8:1 in Western Australia and South Australia. The rate of Indigenous children being placed under care and protection orders and in out-of-home care was higher than the rate for other children in all jurisdictions. Just over two-thirds of children in out-of-home care were placed with Indigenous relatives/kin (38%) or with other Indigenous caregivers (30%). These are the preferred placements under the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle that has been adopted by all jurisdictions.
Despite the limitations of available data, rates of incarceration in juvenile detention centres for Indigenous Australians aged 10-17 years are much higher than those for other young Australians in all jurisdictions. In 2002-03, 48% of those aged 10-17 years in detention centres in Australia were Indigenous.
In 2003-04, 6,524 people, 3.5% of those receiving Commonwealth/State Disability Agreement funded services identified as Indigenous. The proportion of people who received CSTDA-funded services who were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin varied by service type. Respite (5%), community support (5%) and accommodation (4%) services had an above-average proportion of Indigenous service users. On the other hand, service users of employment (3%) and community access (3%) services had a smaller Indigenous representation than in the overall CSTDA service population.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people utilise aged care services at a younger age, consistent with poorer health status and lower life expectancy. Of those admitted to permanent or respite residential care during 2003-04, almost 29% were under 65 years of age, compared with fewer than 5% of other Australians. Of all Indigenous Australians receiving Community Aged Care Packages at 30 June 2004, 46% were aged below 65 years compared with 8% among other Australians. Of all clients receiving home and community care, 18% of Indigenous clients were aged 75 years or over compared with 57% of other clients.
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