The 2022 Profile of Children and Young People in WA report highlights the growing young population in WA, with the state now home to almost 616,000 children and young people.
Commissioner for Children and Young People Jacqueline McGowan-Jones said the report provides an important insight into Western Australia’s children and young people, who represent almost one quarter of the total population.
“This report helps us to understand more about the children and young people in WA, in particular those who might be experiencing vulnerability and hardship,” Commissioner McGowan-Jones said.
“In order to better support our children and young people we need to be able to monitor trends and be aware of any changes that may have a significant impact on their lives.”
While there has been a slight decrease in the number of children in out-of-home care, Aboriginal children continue to be over-represented in the child protection system. Over the last 10 years, the number of Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care has increased by 90 per cent, compared to 20 per cent for non-Aboriginal children and young people.
The report also highlights a 33 per cent increase in the number of children and young people on the public housing waiting list, which has grown from 7,469 in June 2020 to 9,934 in June 2021.
“The profile report provides government agencies as well as non-government organisations with key data that can help inform policies, services and programs for children and young people,” Ms McGowan-Jones said.
The report contains data across population demographics, including:
- WA is home to around 40,000 Aboriginal children and young people.
- An estimated 43,600 children and young people have a reported disability.
- Just over 14 per cent of children and young people in WA were born overseas, with England and Zealand the most common countries of birth after Australia.
- Approximately 88,000 children and young people in WA aged 0 – 14 years are living in poverty.
- More than 5,300 children and young people are in out-of-home care.
Ms McGowan-Jones said while the data was useful for anyone engaged in policy work or service delivery for children and young people, it needed to be considered in the context of information provided through direct consultation with young people.
“The results of the 2021 Speaking Out Survey gives us a real insight into the lives of children and young people and helps us to understand the challenges they face and they support they need to reach their potential,” she said.
More than 16,000 children and young people across metropolitan, regional and remote communities participated in the survey and shared their views on safety, mental health, education and community.