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Challenging decisions of the Department of Communities

Challenging decisions of the Department of Communities


This information is for a child, a parent, or other relative, or foster carer who has a complaint about, or disagrees with a decision of the Department of Communities Child Protection and Family Support Division ("the Department").

What if I disagree with a decision and my case is currently at the Children's Court?

You should get legal advice. This includes if you disagree with a decision in a provisional care plan.
For more information, see Protection and care matters.

What if I think my child has been abused in care?

You should contact the Department of Communities office you having previously dealt with. The matter can then be referred to the Department of Communities' Abuse in Care Unit.

What if I am a parent or other relative or foster carer who has a complaint about the Department of Communities that is not about a care plan or a court decision?

You can:
  • Explain your concerns to the Department of Communities' officer working with your family.
  • Talk to the team leader who supervises the Department of Communities' officer.

  • Make a complaint to the Director of the District Office or work unit.
If you are still not satisfied, you can:
  • Call the Department of Communities Complaints Management Unit on (08) 9222 2594 or freecall 1800 013 311 (free for STD Callers).
  • Write to the Complaints Management Unit at 189 Royal Street East Perth WA 6004.
  • Submit an online complaint.
The Complaints Management Unit oversees all complaints about the Department. Its webpage has information about complaints it cannot deal with and the complaints process. You can also download a complaints kit from this webpage.
If the Department is not able to resolve your complaint you can go to:
  • the Ombudsman WA, or
  • the Minister for Communities (Child Protection and Family Support)

What if I am a child, or young person who has a problem or complaint about the Department of Communities  that is not about a care plan?

You can contact the Advocate for Children in Care.
The Advocate can help you with problems or complaints which you can't sort out with your case worker, and can make sure you have a say in decisions that affect your life.
The Advocate can be contacted on 1800 460 696 (freecall) or 0429 086 508 or (08) 9222 2518.
If your case is at court and you have a lawyer they may be able to help you with your complaint.

What if I am a parent or child or foster carer who does not agree with the Department of Communities'  care plan?

If you are a parent or child or foster carer who does not agree with a decision in a Department of Communities care plan, for example, about the amount of contact, or living arrangements, you can seek an internal review of the decision. You should get legal advice on how best to do this. Time limits apply. The Department of Communities' Care Plan Review Panel (CPRP) does the review. The CPRP cannot do reviews of provisional care plans.
Before asking for an internal review it may be useful to talk to the person who chaired the care plan meeting about the decision you disagree with.  You may be able to get some changes without needing to have a review.
The CPRP makes its recommendations to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities who will make a decision. A letter will be sent to you to tell you the decision.
For more information on the review process, see the Department of Communities brochure Care plan review panel. You can get an application form from a District office or by contacting the CPRP on (08) 9222 2593. When getting the form you can check if you meet the criteria to apply.

What if I do not agree with the outcome of the review?

You can then apply to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) for a review of the decision. Time limits apply. You should get legal advice.

What if I want to make a freedom of information (FOI) request to the Department?

For information about FOI procedures see the CPFS website or contact the Department of Communities' Freedom of Information Co-ordinator on (08) 9222 2555 or by email to or by post to: Coordinator, Freedom of Information, Department of Communities (Child Protection and Family Support), P.O. Box 6334 EAST PERTH WA  6892.

Where can I get more information?

  Last reviewed: 04/01/2016
Last modified:


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.