As a young person in a Child, Youth and Family residence, how do I make a complaint about the care I’m receiving?
It’s best to first talk to a staff member. If this does not help, ask a staff member to give you a Grievance Form. Write what your complaint is about on the Form, and either put it in the grievance mailbox or hand it to a staff member. Its a good idea to keep a copy of the form for yourself so you can look at it if you need to. Staff should tell you about the grievance process and tell you that you have the right to choose an advocate to support you during the grievance process.
Your complaint will be looked at by the manager or a senior staff member of the residence. They may talk to you and other staff before making a decision.
If you are unhappy with the decision following your complaint, you have seven days to ask for a review from the Grievance Panel. This Panel is made up of three people from the community.
If you are unhappy with the Panel’s decision, you can ask the Commissioner for Children to review the complaint. The Grievance Panel or senior staff member should help you with this.
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What are my rights as a child in CYF care?
If you’re a child under Child, Youth and Family care, you have a right to:
- know why you are in care
- be safe from abuse and violence where you live
- have a say about decisions being made about you, and be told by your social worker why decisions are being made
- have your own belongings
- have contact with your family and friends (or be told by your social worker why you can’t)
- see what has been written about you, or be told by your social worker why you can’t
You can find out more about Child, Youth and Family care and protection residences on the Child, Youth and Family website.
If you have a complaint about the caregiver you have been placed with, and the complaint does not involve abuse, neglect or harm, you can follow the complaints process. You can ask for an advocate to help you.
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How do I report abuse or neglect by a Child Youth and Family-appointed caregiver?
If you want to report abuse, neglect or harm by your caregiver, you can call Child Youth and Family on 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459). This is the same number that anyone can use to report a concern about possible child abuse or neglect, for example by a parent.
If Child Youth and Family receives a ‘report of concern’ about a caregiver, it will be assessed or investigated by two social workers (one of whom must be an experienced social worker and neither of whom can be the child’s or caregiver's social worker). They will also notify the caregiver that an allegation has been made.
Child Youth and Family must notify your parents if:
- they remove you from the caregiver during the assessment or investigation
- they decide you should remain with the caregiver during the assessment or investigation, unless doing so might not be in your best interests
Child Youth and Family may also notify the parents of any other children who remain with your caregiver.
After the assessment or investigation has been completed, the social workers will prepare a report. This should be completed within 20 days of receiving the report of concern. The caregiver who is under investigation will have the opportunity to comment on the report before it is given to a senior Child Youth and Family staff member.
Within 30 days of receiving the report, the caregiver will find out the outcome of the investigation (for example, the caregiver’s approval could be revoked, or they may have to take recommended actions). You (and your parents, if they were notified of the allegation) will then be advised of the outcome.