NATIONAL: Development of an ongoing national data collection on the educational outcomes of children in child protection services
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) published a working paper to guide the development of ongoing national data collection on the educational outcomes of children in child protection services in November 2013.  The working paper provides an overview of a proposed national linked dataset on the educational activity and outcomes of children while in child protection services, to allow ongoing and longitudinal monitoring of the academic progress, and to better inform policy, practice and planning of activities to support these children.
Children in child protection services are especially vulnerable and this data collection is needed to ensure improvement in their education outcomes. The Council of Australian Governments Standing Council on Community, Housing and Disability Services (SCCHDS) had provided funding to the AIHW to roll out Phase 1 of the implementation of the national data collection over a period of 18 months, commencing in September 2013.
NATIONAL: Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability
The Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood (SCSEEC) endorsed the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability to be implemented in a phased approach from 2013 to 2014 on 10 May 2013.  The Department of Education notes that a nationally consistent approach to data collection on school students with disability will help governments, schools and education authorities better understand the needs of students with disability and help them to reach their full potential.  This will enable governments to target support and resources appropriately.
Developments requiring attention
NATIONAL: National Children’s Commissioner set to reform data collection
In the first National Children’s Commissioner’s report, Children’s Rights Report 2013, the National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell has identified the “lack of comprehensive and comparable data about children in Australia”  as a key area for reform. According to the report, “in order to effectively monitor Australia’s progress in implementing its commitments under the CRC, access to comprehensive national statistical information about children’s wellbeing is a key priority.” 
The current issues surrounding data collection and children’s rights in Australia have also been raised by organisations such as the Australian Institute of Family Studies, who in 2013 noted that, “there has been no methodologically rigorous, nation-wide study of the prevalence or incidence of child abuse and neglect in Australia.”  Gaps in data such as these make it difficult to measure trends in child abuse and neglect, and must be remedied by the Australian government.
The National Children’s Commissioner has made some inroads in this field, engaging in preliminary discussions with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to expand their research activities to include children aged 0 to 17 years, rather than to the current limit of 14 years.  Discussions have also been entered into with the Steering Committee for the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children and non-profit organisations. 
In the Children’s Rights Report 2013, the National Children’s Commissioner recommends that the Australian Government establishes relevant data holdings and analytics covering all the key domains of children’s rights outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Commissioner also pledges in the next reporting period to report further on the gaps and inconsistencies in data collection and monitoring processes. 
However, the Australian government has not yet acted upon either the recommendations of the CRC or the National Children’s Commissioner. While the focus of the Commissioner on this issue is encouraging, the government must also seek to act in this area in order to adequately protect all children in Australia. This is particularly needed to protect children who have been overlooked in the past , or children who require special protection. Reform should be adopted across all data collection agencies with particular regard to information which has previously not been available, such as data on ethnicity, refugee or migrant status, child abuse and sexual exploitation.