Make a complaint

Step 1

Talk about your complaint to your caseworker at your local DCP office. Our aim is to resolve issues at the local level where possible. Usually a conversation with your caseworker can help sort out the majority of concerns.

Step 2

If you've done step 1 but you're not happy with the outcome, speak with the Supervisor or Office Manager at your local DCP office.

Step 3

If your complaint still can't be resolved, contact the Central Complaints Unit. You can:

  • complete our online complaints form
  • phone the Central Complaints Unit on 1800 003 305
  • print and complete the complaints form and send it to:
  • Central Complaints Unit
    Department for Child Protection
    GPO Box 1072
    Adelaide SA 5001

Internal reviews

If you're upset by a decision and feel the department hasn't been fair, you may be able to ask for a formal internal review of the decision.

Decisions that can be reviewed

  • Approval of carers.
  • How many children an approved carer may have in their care.
  • Conditions placed upon the approval.
  • A decision to vary, substitute or revoke a condition of an approval.
  • Cancellation of an approved carer’s approval.

  • Delegating powers to an approved carer.
  • Involving approved carers in decision-making relating to the health, safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person in their care.
  • Providing information to approved carers before and after placement.
  • Applications from approved carers to become long term guardians of a child or young person in their care.

  • Where a child or young person will live.
  • The provision of information to children and young people and their involvement in decisions relating to their placement or care.
  • Requests for an annual review to be held of the circumstances of a child and young person in long term care.
  • Voluntary custody agreements.

  • Licensing of foster care agencies.
  • Licensing of children’s residential facilities.
  • Decisions to vary, substitute or revoke a condition of a license.
  • Cancellation of a license.

  • Whether or not to keep the child or young person’s parents informed about where they are living.
  • The issuing of written directions not to communicate, or attempt to communicate, with a specified child or young person who is in the custody, or under the guardianship, of the Chief Executive.
  • The issuing of written directions not to harbour or conceal, or assist another person to harbour or conceal, a specified child or young person who is in the custody, or under the guardianship, of the Chief Executive.
  • Changing a child’s name.

Review process

Generally you need to apply for an internal review within 30 days of receiving notice of the decision.

A staff member who was not involved in the decision will carry out the review and may want to talk to you directly as part of the process.

While the review is underway the first decision will continue to apply.

When a review has finished, the department’s decision may be to:

  • confirm and keep the original decision in place
  • change the original decision
  • replace the original decision.

You, and others who are directly affected will be told of the outcome.

Request an internal review by completing the Application for Internal Review form (DOCX, 63.7 KB) and submitting it 1 of 3 ways:

  • lodge the form in person at one of our DCP offices
  • mail the form to:

    Manager, Complaints Unit
    Department of Child Protection
    GPO Box 1072
    Adelaide SA 5001

  • email the form to the DCP Complaints Unit.

If you need help completing this form you can call the Complaints Unit on 1800 003 305.

If you are asking for a review of a decision relating to section 153 of the Act (care leavers to be provided with documents and information held by the Department), you can request an internal review by filling out this internal review form (PDF, 139.3 KB).

You can have a support person during the internal review process if you wish. The support person can be a carer, family member or advocate. There is space on the application form for you to provide details of your support person. The support person can help you complete the application form, be present during the review process or be told of any communications between you and the department.

If a child or young person wants to request an internal review, the Guardian for Children and Young People or another trusted adult, such as their carer, can help them complete the application form.

After the department’s internal review process, if you’re still unhappy with the decision, you may be able to apply for an external review with the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).

An external review can only happen after a department internal review has finished.

For information about applying for a SACAT review, visit the SACAT website  or call 1800 723 767.