Making a complaint for children and young people in out-of-home care

Children or young people in out-of-home care, unhappy with their care, can make a complaint.
If you're a child or young person in out-of-home care, and you are unhappy with your care, you can make a complaint.

What you can make a complaint about

We want our services to work for children and young people in out-of-home care.

Children and young people in out-of-home care have the right to feel safe and secure and to tell someone how they feel, including if they are unhappy or have a concern about their care.

The department's complaints team is here to listen you and help you with your concerns.

Video: You can make a complaint

Are you worried or unhappy?

If you are worried about your safety right now, you should call the police on 000.

It's OK to tell someone.

All children or young people living in out-of-home care have rights.

You have the right to:

  • be safe and feel safe
  • say how you feel and be heard
  • tell someone if you are unhappy.

You might be unhappy with your care or a person who looks after you – or anything else that makes you feel unsafe or unhappy.

The department’s complaints team is also here to listen to you and help you with your concerns.

What should you do?

Step 1: Talk to a carer or someone you trust that looks after you.

You could talk to your case manager or teacher. They might be able to help you work things out.

You can also ask to speak to your case worker’s manager.

Step 2: You can contact our friendly complaints team by:

We will listen to you and tell you how we can help.

We will also take action to ensure you are safe.

Who else can I talk to about complaints?

You may also want to complain to one of the these organisations:

Kids Helpline

Kids Helpline is a free and confidential phone counselling service for children and young people between 5 and 25 years old.

Phone: 1800 55 1800

Disability Services Commissioner

The Disability Services Commissioner works with people with a disability, and disability services to respond to complaints.

Phone: 1800 677 342 (free call)

TTY service for people with hearing or speech difficulties: 1300 726 563.

Health Complaints Commissioner

The Health Complaints Commissioner receives and responds to complaints about your health and health information in Victoria.

Phone: 1300 582 113

TTY service for people with hearing or speech difficulties

Mental Health Complaints Commissioner

The Mental Health Complaints Commissioner can help you if your complaint is about a public mental health service in Victoria.

Phone: 1800 246 054

Victorian Ombudsman

The Victorian Ombudsman is independent and not part of the department. They can look at complaints about the department or any government organisation. You can make a complaint to the Ombudsman about your worker or how you are treated.

You can make a complaint to the Ombudsman if:

  • you have already told a carer, worker, manager or the department what's wrong but are still unhappy
  • you don’t feel like you can tell a carer, worker, manager or the department what's wrong – for example, if you feel unsafe or worried about what will happen to you if you make a complaint.

The Ombudsman will tell you if they can help you, give you ideas about what to do, or tell you who to speak to.

Phone: (03) 9613 6222. Regional phone: 1800 806 314

Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner

The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner will investigate complaints about a Victorian Government agency or local council’s failure to comply with one or more of the Information Privacy Principles.

Phone: 1300 666 444

More information

If English is not your first language, we can help you with an interpreter.

We understand that making a complaint can sometimes involve personal issues, and we are here to help you with the process.

You could also ask someone else to lodge a complaint for you. However, they must have your permission to do this.

What happens to the information collected about complaints?

We know your privacy is very important.

We collect information so we can respond to your complaint. This includes the information you tell us on the complaints form. We are legally required to take action to keep you safe.

We will speak with you about actions we can take to respond to your complaint. This might include sharing your information with the people who look after you. This might be your case manager, support worker or other areas within the department.

We might also collect information from an organisation that may look after you. This will help us respond to your complaint. Please let us know if you have any concerns about sharing of your information.

You have the legal right to see your information about you. This is called Freedom of Information (FOI). You can learn more about it from our FOI Team by phoning 9096 8449.

Complaints Team

The team is responsible for managing your complaint, and listening to feedback, suggestions and compliments.

Other resources

Planet Right and Getting It Right

Visit the CREATE  website and see two videos to help you understand your rights in out-of-home care.

The Charter for Children in Out-of-Home Care

This Charter for children in out-of-home care lists the rights of children and young people in out-of-home care.

Guide to making a complaint

You can find the guide to making a complaint in English, easy English and community languages on the Making a complaint page on this site.