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.
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:
- your Child Safety Officer, who works at Child Safety Services
- your Community Visitor or a Child Advocate, from the Office of the Public Guardian
- Legal Aid Queensland
- the Youth Advocacy Centre.
If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, you could talk to your Independent Person or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services. You could also start by talking to people you trust, like teachers or local Elders.
To find out more about what an Independent Person is and how they can help, check out Independent Person: Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
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:
- 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, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Legal Aid Queeensland 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.
Child Advocates are located throughout Queensland
Phone: 1800 661 533
There are many Legal Aid offices throughout Queensland
Phone: 1300 651 188
4/162 Petrie Terrace Brisbane QLD 4000
Phone: (07) 3356 1002
183 N Quay Brisbane City QLD 4000
Phone: 1800 012 255
Level 9, 259 Queen Street Brisbane QLD 4000
Phone: 1300 753 228