28 May 2018

Prenatal reporting to child protection: Characteristics and service responses in one Australian jurisdiction

This research used administrative data on prenatal reporting to child protection services to examine the characteristics of two samples from one Australian jurisdiction: (i) data from casefiles of 38 cases reported in 2012–13, and (ii) administrative data from 117 cases reported prenatally in 2013. The study found that women who were reported to child protection services in relation to their pregnancy were predominantly disadvantaged and were likely to be reported relatively late in their pregnancy due to ‘future risk concerns’. Approximately two-thirds of those reported were recorded as being provided with some prenatal support, though this was generally of limited duration. Twelve percent of the babies born to the larger cohort of women were removed within 100 days of their birth. The author suggests that longer term supportive interventions are needed to reduce the risk factors evident in women reported during pregnancy  and to improve their ability to safely care for their children.