Each year, the Productivity Commission releases its Report on Government Services (ROGS), which includes data that allows us to examine and compare the state’s delivery of child protection services in a national context.
The ROGS 2019 identifies four program areas within child protection services—protective intervention services, family support services, intensive family support services and out of home care.
The Office of the Guardian’s analysis of the report finds South Australia continues to show a heavy commitment to spending on out-of-home care.
In 2017-18, 77 per cent of all child protection services spending was in out-of-home care. Of this expenditure, 64 per cent was committed to residential care, including very costly emergency care accommodation. This is despite the proportion of young people living in residential care in South Australia decreasing from 15.7 per cent in 2016-17 to 13.5 per cent in 2017-18. This proportion is still high when compared to the national average, which is just 5.5 per cent.
Expenditure on family support services is also relatively high when compared to other jurisdictions. The national average spending per child on family support services was just 68 per cent of the South Australian average, with the state increasing its total expenditure by 351 per cent since 2013-14.
South Australian expenditure on intensive family support services has moved in a similar direction, having more than doubled since 2013-14. In 2017-18 it was 9.5 per cent higher per child than the national average.
Spending on protective intervention services has reduced from $142 per child in 2013-14 to $120 in 2017-18. This is just below half of the national average and represents the lowest expenditure in protective intervention services across the country.
For further analysis, South Australian child protection expenditure from the Report on Government Services 2019 is available for download below.