Complaints by and for Children

Standards & Regulations

Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care:

Important Contacts

Dr Maggie Atkinson (Anne Longfield as from 28th February 2015), Children's Commissioner for England
The Office of the Children's Commissioner
Sanctuary Buildings
20 Great Smith Street

Tel: 020 7783 8330

Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
M1 2WD

Tel: 0300 123 1231

If you have a complaint about the fostering service see How Can I Make a Complaint against the Fostering Service.

You should not confuse complaints with allegations although there is sometimes an overlap.

What a Complaint may be about

  • The foster placement;
  • The fostering service;
  • The Local Authority including the child’s social worker;
  • Something outside of this, like the child’s school.

Your role is to;

  • Listen to the child/young person, take them seriously and try not to be defensive about what they are saying;
  • Tell others like the child’s social worker or your Fostering Social Worker - they might see something in the complaint that you don’t;
  • Try to help the child sort out the problem;
  • Advocate (speak on their behalf) for the child where appropriate (like a pushy parent). depending on their age, stage of development and understanding;
  • If it isn’t something that can be sorted out straight away, and after seeking advice, help the child to access the complaints procedure for the fostering service and for their local authority;
  • Ensure that they get feedback on what happens.

Most issues can be sorted out informally through discussion with either the child’s social worker or your Fostering Social Worker, depending on what the problem is. Sometimes, the fostering service's Manager may be the most appropriate person to speak to about the concerns. If they can’t be sorted out like this you and/or the child have the right to make a complaint to the Local Authority.

How Complaints are Managed

Stage 1:
At Stage 1, the complaint would be passed to the Manager with responsibility for the services provided to the child. The Manager would look at the complaint, and provide a response to you and the child, including what will be done to resolve the complaint. The Manager may arrange to visit you and the child to discuss the complaint.

Stage 2:
If after Stage 1 you or the child are still unhappy, you can ask that the complaint be investigated further by someone who is independent of the fostering service. They would the produce a report for the Service with their findings of the investigation and any recommendations on how to sort out the complaint. An Assistant Director will write to you and the child saying what will be done to sort out the complaint.

Stage 3:
Most complaints are sorted out after Stage 2, but if you and the child are still not happy they can ask for the complaint to go to a Review Panel. A Review Panel makes decisions about the complaint, and may make other recommendations for the fostering service to think about. At Stage 3, the Director has to respond to the Review Panel’s recommendations.