Children in Care - How to make a complaint

Philosophy

Wanslea recognises the value of complaints as an important tool in responding to and evaluating services for children and young people. This complaints policy and procedure is specific to children and young people receiving services from Wanslea Foster Care.

Purpose
Wanslea Foster Care is young people and child friendly committed to the rights and welfare of children and young people.  Wanslea managment and staff respect the rights of children and young people to evaluate and complain about the standard of services provided by Wanslea staff, and are committed to a fair and equitable resolution of all complaints.  This policy and procedure sets out to:

A. recognise that children and young people have specific needs and require a complaints policy and procedure that fits their needs

B. promote and protect children’s and young people’s rights, as stated in the United Nations Convention on Rights of Child (1990), including the right to comment and complain

C. provide an open and transparent process that respects children and young people

D. establish a complaints policy and procedure that is easily understood by children and young people

E. provide information to children and young people on their rights and how to complain if their rights are being compromised or violated

F. provide an efficient, fair and timely resolution of complaints

G. monitor complaints to identify any gaps in service provision, and to improve service quality accordingly

H. ensure a consistent method of reporting, monitoring and managing of complaints

 

Definitions

A. Children and young people are defined as any child or young person from the ages of birth to 18 years old receiving services from any Wanslea Foster Care program.

B. A complaint is a concern or offence that has been raised by a child or young person in which they feel their rights have been violated, they are unhappy about a decision made on their behalf, or they have been subjected to unfair, discriminatory or unjust behaviour. Any allegation of harm or inappropriate behaviour cannot be put forth as a complaint under this policy, but needs to follow the policy and procedures for allegations of abuse and harm.

C. An informal complaint is a satisfactory resolution of a complaint through open communication between all parties.

D. A formal complaint is a complaint in which successful resolution cannot be reached informally, and further action is required through a written complaint, or a review and resolution process.

Responsibility of Persons Implementing the Procedure

Those working with child and young people in relation to a complaint are responsible for ensuring the child and young person is treated with respect, fairness, and equity, regardless of age, and has a support person present if necessary.

Social Worker or Family Support Worker

1. At the commencement of work with children and young people, the identified worker will inform the child or young people of their rights

2. The worker will discuss these rights with the child or young people and provide a copy of these rights, written in child friendly language

3. The worker will inform the child or young people of their right to complain and the formal and informal options available to them

4. If a child is not of an age to engage in this process, the worker will inform the child’s foster carer of the process and act on the child’s behalf to report a complaint

5. The worker will provide a copy of the child complaint pamphlet and the contact details of the Advocate for Children in Care and a complaint form to all children and young people receiving services.

Manager of Program

The Manager of the program is responsible for keeping the CEO aware of all formal complaints received and any issues that require additional assistance.

Chief Executive Officer

The CEO is responsible for being aware and intervening or advocating as needed in formal complaints.

 

Procedure

This procedure aims to ensure that Wanslea’s complaints policy for children and young people is put in practice quickly, efficiently, and without prejudice. This procedure will be followed after attempts by the child or young person’s Social Worker to address the young person complaint have been unsuccessful. All complaints will follow this procedure process.

Informal Complaints

1. The child or young person’s Social Worker will notify senior staff of a complaint

2. The senior staff member will attempt to resolve the complaint in an informal way

3. The senior staff member will arrange for someone to speak with the child or young person to determine the nature of their complaint

a) The senior staff member will obtain information about the complaint

b) The senior staff member will arrange for the most appropriate person to support the child or young person and assist them to speak directly with the person or organisation involved in the complaint and come to a resolution

c) If the child or young person feels unable to raise the issue directly with the person or organisation, or a successful resolution cannot be reached, the process will move to a formal complaint

d) The senior staff member will advise the child or young person of the formal procedure and provide the necessary information and complaint form.

Formal Complaints

If a complaint has not been resolved through an informal process, a formal complaint process can be initiated.

1. The senior staff member will:

a) Explain the process for a written complaint and provide the child or young person with the complaint form

b) Arrange assistance for the child or young person to complete the form if needed

c) Consult with all parties involved in the complaint, facilitate discussions, and assist with reaching a resolution

d) At all stages, the child or young person will be empowered to participate fully in the process and be kept informed of discussions and outcomes

e) Every attempt should be made to reach a resolution that is satisfactory to the child or young person.

2. If possible, complaints should be responded to within 48 hours and resolved within 21 days of the date of the complaint

3. Documentation of complaints will be done in consultation with the child or young person, documented in child friendly language, and entered in WOMBAT

4. Original documentation will remain with the child or young person unless otherwise directed by the child or young people

5. The senior staff member will brief the Manager and CEO of all formal complaints

6. The senior staff member, Manager and CEO will review all complaints to determine if an area of service provision is being compromised or if any steps need to be taken to prevent further complaints.

Documentation and Record Keeping

1. All informal and formal complaints will be treated as confidential

2. All documentation will be written in child friendly language

3. At the completion of the complaints process, all original documentation will be given to the child or young people

4. The child or young person has the discretion to dispose of the original complaint form and any other correspondence as they see fit

5. With the child or young people’s knowledge, copies of complaint forms and any other written documentation will be scanned into WOMBAT case notes and a copy kept on the Wanslea complaints register

6. With the child or young people’s knowledge, an alert will be placed on WOMBAT to notify future workers of previous complaints

7. All documentation of complaints will remain on file until the child or young person leaves Wanslea services or for a period of ten years.

Forms

Complaint form - 12 Under 

Complaint form - 12 Plus