Child protection services for children with special healthcare needs: A population record linkage study. By: Hindmarsh, Gabrielle; Laurens, Kristin R.; Katz, Ilan; Butler, Merran; Harris, Felicity; Carr, Vaughan J.; Green, Melissa J. Australian Journal of Social Issues (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ). Jun2021, Vol. 56 Issue 2, p223-243. 21p.

Children with disabilities are known to have high rates of contact with child protection services. However, little is known about child protection contacts for a broader group of children with special healthcare needs (SHCN; i.e., special needs or other impairments of concern that affect learning). This study examined the characteristics of contact with child protection services (prior to the age of 6 years) for children with SHCN identified at school entry using the 2009 Australian Early Development Census, using administrative data from more than 65,000 children in the New South Wales Child Development Study. Child protection contacts prior to age 6 years were more prevalent among children with SHCN compared with those without; in particular, children with SHCN had higher odds of a history of exposure to neglect and physical abuse, and higher odds of being placed in out‐of‐home care, compared with their typically developing peers. Understanding the characteristics of child protection contacts among children with SHCN, with consideration of factors that may influence their patterns of contact with these and other human services agencies, will inform the development of appropriate social policy initiatives to fulfil Australia’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.