Snapshot 2013, the 11th in the Commission’s Snapshot series, draws together data from a wide range of sources to provide a contemporary representation of the health, safety and wellbeing of children and young people in Queensland. Where possible, data are supported by robust trend analyses to provide a longitudinal evidence base from which facts can be drawn to highlight areas of particular concern and improvement. These facts can be used to inform policy development and facilitate shared understandings across sectors.
The report provides statistical information about demographics, families, lifestyle and social issues, health, education and care, deaths, child protection and crime and justice, and is an important reference for people who work with children and young people, as well as researchers, academics, Parliamentarians and policy and program developers.
Snapshot 2013 reveals that many children and young people are faring well on a wide range of key indicators of health, safety and wellbeing. For example:
· the teenage fertility rate is the lowest it has been in five years
· the proportions of infants born prematurely or underweight have remained low over the last decade
· more than nine in ten children are fully immunised by the appropriate coverage age
· most parents regularly engage with their children in informal learning activities such as reading and telling stories
· the proportion of children classified as developmentally vulnerable in their first year of schooling has declined over the past three years
· the rate of children and young people continuing from Year 8 to Year 12 is the highest it has been in a decade
· the majority of young people report that they have never smoked
· infant and childhood mortality rates have been in decline for much of the last two decades
· the rate of sexual offences against children and young people is the lowest it has been in the last 10 years, and
· the rate of property offences committed by young people has generally been decreasing over the past decade.
However, data from other measures indicate areas for improvement:
· a significant proportion of children and young people are not meeting daily physical activity requirements
· over one quarter of children and young people are overweight or obese
· over one fifth of young people are consuming alcohol at levels that place them at risk of single occasion alcohol-related harm at least yearly
· the number of children and young people experiencing homelessness has increased over the past five years
· more than one in 20 children and young people have a mental or behavioural problem.
· over one quarter of children in their first year of school are developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains of the Australian Early Childhood Development Index
· while the rate of school exclusions has historically been higher than the rate of school enrolment cancellations, these rates have now reached parity
· the suicide mortality rate for young people has increased in more recent years, particularly among males
· the population of children and young people living away from home continues to rise, despite ongoing reductions in the number of substantiated notifications of harm, with the most rapid growth observed in the residential care population
· children and young people in out-of-home care are much less likely than those in the general population to be meeting the national minimum standards in numeracy and literacy, and
· the proportion of children and young people subject to substantiations while in out-of-home care increased in the last year.
Additionally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people continue to experience poorer health, education, safety and social outcomes compared to those in the general population.
The Snapshot 2013: Children and Young People in Queensland report page on the Commission’s website contains links to the full report and key data booklet.
The Commission has also released a second edition of the Snapshot Key Data: Children and Young People in Queensland web app for use on mobile devices. The app provides instant access to an extensive range of information on issues relating to the health, safety and wellbeing of children and young people in Queensland.