Description

This brief presents an analysis of children who were reported to the NSW child protection system in 2016–2017 as being at risk of significant harm (ROSH), and had at least one teenage parent at the time of the report.

The data analysed was from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (formerly Family and Community Services or FACS) client information system relating to child protection and out-of-home care (OOHC).

The analysis found that, compared to the overall ROSH population, children with teenage parents were more likely to be assessed as unsafe, be reported at a younger age and enter out-of-home care (OOHC). Nine in ten parents of this group had experienced either a ROSH report or an OOHC placement as a child.

Key messages:

  • This analysis highlights the vulnerabilities of a small but important group of children reported to child protection authorities every year: those with teenage parents.
  • Around 1.4% of children reported in 2016–17 as being at risk of significant harm (ROSH) had a teenage parent (aged 15-19 years) at the time of their first report.
  • Compared to the overall ROSH population, children with teenage parents were more likely to be assessed as unsafe, be reported at a younger age and enter out-of-home care (OOHC). Nine in ten parents of this group had experienced either a ROSH report or an OOHC placement as a child.
  • The support needs and negative child protection outcomes associated with having teenage parents were greater among Aboriginal children.
  • This cohort of children were generally brought to the attention of mandatory reporters at a young age, allowing for potential early identification and intervention. The targeting of services to better meet the needs of this cohort may lead to improved engagement with services and outcomes.
  • Further analysis is needed to isolate the impact of having a teenage parent from other factors, such as intergenerational child protection history and age of child, in order to get a better understanding of the needs of this cohort.
Publication Details
Publication Year:
2019