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Raising concerns with your child care service

At times you may experience some level of dissatisfaction or even concern about the child care service you use.

This fact sheet provides some tips to help you to effectively communicate any concerns you may have with the service, or to reach out to the regulatory authority of your state/ territory for advice, or to lodge a complaint if necessary.

You may have questions about what you see happening in a child care service

Every child has the right to play and develop in a safe, secure education and care environment.

All education and care services need to comply with the National Law and Regulations, and the practices you see in a service may be different to your family’s practices at home.

If you feel concerned about any practices you see at the service your child attends, it’s important to be aware of how to raise this.

Raising concerns with your child care service

Child care services have complaints handling policies and procedures

Child care services recognise that the care and wellbeing of your child is your top priority, and that every concern is important and needs to be addressed.

They have transparent grievance and complaints handling policies and procedures, usually provided to you when you enrol your child. These provide you with information about who you should speak to if you’re feeling concerned about something and how the service manages concerns and complaints. If you don’t have a copy of the service’s complaints handling policies and procedures, you can ask for a copy.

Usually, speaking with the educator working with your child is a first step. The policy should advise if speaking to someone else first is advisable, depending on the issue.

All complaints handling procedures emphasise managing complaints professionally and confidentially, and maintaining your right to privacy.

Raising your concerns effectively

The following tips may help you raise any concerns with confidence:

  • Read the services complaint handling procedure to find out who to raise your concern with and what steps the service will follow.
  • Try to delay raising concerns when you’re feeling angry or upset. Taking some time to think about the issue can help make discussions more productive.
  • Jot down notes about your concern, why it is a concern to you, and what you feel it means for your child at the service.
  • Arrange a time to speak with the appropriate person, be prepared to listen with an open mind, and remember that you may not know all the facts.
  • Ask the person you speak with to clarify their answers, so that you feel you clearly understand the actions they intend to take to resolve the issue.

What if you have immediate concerns about children’s safety and wellbeing?

If you witness a situation or practice that could potentially harm a child you should take immediate steps to stop this from re-occurring.

You should advise the service’s management about your concerns to ensure they can put in place practices to ensure the children’s health and safety.

Serious issues such as child abuse/neglect, leaving children unsupervised or exposing children to danger should be raised with the relevant state or territory regulatory authority. They have a responsibility to ensure services comply with the National legislation, and will follow up your concern.

Role of Regulatory Authorities

If you are unable to reach a satisfactory result with your service, you can contact the regulatory authority of your state/territory. The RA is responsible for the assessment and rating, and compliance of services and can investigate complaints.

Australian Capital Territory

Children’s Education and Care Assurance, Early Childhood Policy and Regulation, Education Directorate, ACT Government.
Website: www.education.act.gov.au
Email: ceca@act.gov.au
Phone: (02) 6207 1114
Fax: (02) 6207 1128

New South Wales

Early Childhood Education Directorate, NSW Department of Education
Website: education.nsw.gov.au/early-childhood-education
Email: ececd@det.nsw.edu.au
Phone: 1800 619 113 (toll free)
Fax: (02) 86331810

Northern Territory

Quality Education and Care NT, Department of Education
Website: www.education.nt.gov.au
Email: qualityecnt.det@nt.gov.au
Phone: (08) 8999 3561

Queensland

Regulation, Assessment and Service Quality, Early Childhood and Community Engagement, Department of Education and Training
Website: www.qed.qld.gov.au/earlychildhood
Email: PO Box 15033, City East, QLD 4002
Phone: Early Childhood information service: 13 QGOV (13 7468)

South Australia

Education Standards Board
Website: esb.sa.gov.au
Email: ESB.EarlyChildhoodServices@sa.gov.au
Phone: 1800 882 413 (toll free) (08) 8226 0077

Tasmania

Department of Education, Education and Care Unit
Website: educationandcare.tas.gov.au
Email: ecu.comment@education.tas.gov.au
Phone: 1800 816 057 (toll free)

Victoria

Department of Education and Training
Website: www.education.vic.gov.au/childhood
Email: licensed.childrens.services@edumail.vic.gov.au
Phone: 1300 307 415

Western Australia

Department of Communities, Education and Care Regulatory Unit
Website: www.dlgc.wa.gov.au/LegislationCompliance/Pages/Education-and-Care
Email: ecru@communities.wa.gov.au
Phone: (08) 6551 8333
Fax: (08) 6552 1555