Who to talk to in Community Services if your child is in care

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In order to achieve the best results for your child, it's important that you and your caseworker work together to solve any problems — even if you don't always agree with each other.

One of the ways to do this is to to talk to your caseworker about your wishes and feelings.

If you still have concerns, you should talk to your caseworker’s manager.

Community Services also has a Client Feedback and Assistance Unit which you can contact Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm on a toll free number 1800 000 164. See more on client complaints.

When you need to speak with someone urgently outside normal business hours, phone Child Protection Helpline on 132 111.

If you have a problem with your child’s carer

Given the demanding and emotional nature of fostering, there may be times when you have a difference of opinion with your child’s foster carer or your child's caseworker .

You might, for example, be unhappy about the impact of a particular decision affecting you or your child’s life.

In most situations, issues can be resolved directly with your caseworker or their manager. A process called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is another way to try to resolve issues.

Alternative dispute resolution

ADR is not counselling or therapy. It is a meeting to explore options to help reach agreement to decisions about the care of your child.

While your attendance is voluntary, ADR can save time, ease tension and is a flexible and informal way to resolve issues.

ADR involves a special ADR practitioner who runs the meeting. The ADR practitioner is neutral and comes to the meeting without fixed views about you or the outcome of the ADR meeting.

Anything said in the meeting remains confidential and your ADR practitioner, caseworker, foster carer or any other person involved agrees not to talk about what was said without first asking permission, except when:

  • something is said that suggests a child or young person has been harmed 
  • a threat to harm anyone or damage property has been made
  • something is said to suggest a criminal offence has occurred.

When this happens, the law requires your ADR practitioner or caseworker to tell Community Services and/or the Police about what was said.

When everyone has had their say, the ADR Practitioner will write down the agreements that have been made. Everyone is given a copy to sign and keep.

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To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days)