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Complaints and reviews

You have the right to speak up, and be heard, at every stage while you’re being looked after. At first, you should speak to the people around you – your family, your Child Safety Officer, your Community Visitor or Child Advocate – to improve the things that matter to you.

If you’re still not happy with your time in care, you can formally ask to have a decision reviewed by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. This section will help show you how to do that.

What can I do when I don’t agree with a decision made about my life?

If you don’t agree with a decision, such as:

  • who you should live with
  • whether your parents know where you’re living
  • the amount of contact you have with your family

You can talk to:

If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, you could talk to the recognised entity in your area or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services. You could also start by talking to people you trust, like teachers or local Elders.

You can also make a complaint about Child Safety Services on the Queensland Government website’s LiveChat.

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)

If you’d like to formally review a decision of Child Safety Services, you should talk to your Child Safety Officer first. If you’re still concerned, you can go to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), who will look at the decision again.

QCAT can only review specific decisions. These include:

  • deciding who will care for you
  • not informing your parents of who is caring for you and where you are living
  • refusing to allow contact between you and your parents or a member of your family
  • restricting or imposing conditions on the contact between you and your parents or a member of your family
  • removing you from a carer.

You need to make sure you have the original letter from Child Safety Services telling you about the decision.

You can talk to a Child Advocate from the Office of the Public Guardian who can help you to make an application and present your views to the tribunal. A Child Advocate can even speak on your behalf if you would like them to. You can also talk to Legal Aid Queensland or another agency, who can help you complete any required paperwork.

You should apply to QCAT within 28 days of finding out about a decision if you’d like them to review it. You’ll need to lodge an application form. You can also find it at QCAT’s Brisbane office or, if you live outside Brisbane, at your local Magistrates Court. Remember, you can talk to your Child Advocate, Legal Aid Queensland, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, or another agency for help filling out the form.

When you apply for a review of a decision, you can also apply for a ‘stay’ of the decision. If a ‘stay’ is granted, that means the decision is not carried out until QCAT makes a decision about your application. A ‘stay’ will only be agreed to in special circumstances, and will not always be granted.

Another person can apply to QCAT to review a decision on your behalf, if you need. QCAT will then consider your best interests when they review the decision.

Check out this really good guide for more information about how QCAT works.

People you can contact

Office of the Public Guardian

Child Advocates are located throughout Queensland
Phone: 1800 661 533
e-mail: child@publicguardian.qld.gov.au
Website: http://www.publicguardian.qld.gov.au/child-advocate/contact-us

Legal Aid Queensland

There are many Legal Aid offices throughout Queensland
Phone: 1300 651 188
Website: http://www.legalaid.qld.gov.au/Home

Youth Advocacy Centre 

4/162 Petrie Terrace
Brisbane  QLD  4000
Phone: (07) 3356 1002
Email: admin@yac.net.au
Website: http://www.yac.net.au/

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services

183 N Quay
Brisbane City  QLD  4000
Phone: 1800 012 255
Website: http://www.atsils.org.au/

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal

Level 9, 259 Queen Street
Brisbane  QLD  4000
Phone: 1300 753 228
Email: enquiries@qcat.qld.gov.au
Website: http://www.qcat.qld.gov.au/

Last modified: 
15 December 2016