Policy: Parent Issues or Concerns

Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014

The purpose of this policy is to provide a transparent process for parent / guardians, the child care licensee and staff to use when parents / guardians bring forward issues and concerns. 

Our child care centres are dedicated to ensuring the delivery of high quality child care to all families. Children should be in a healthy, safe, happy environment. Children's Services is committed to work in partnership with families to resolve any concerns and complaints that they may have about their child's care.

Policy

Children's Services, Child Care Centres will provide clear and transparent information to parents, the community and staff on how concerns and complaints will be managed and resolutions will be found. This will ensure that families have access to support and direction when attempting to resolve a complaint.

Parents / guardians are encouraged to take an active role in our child care centres and regularly discuss what their child(ren) are experiencing with our program.

As supported by our program statement, we support positive and responsive interactions among the children, parents / guardians, child care providers and staff, and foster the engagement of and ongoing communication with parents / guardians about the program and their children. Our staff are available to engage parents/guardians in conversations and support a positive experience during every interaction.  

Families can expect their concerns will be responded to in a courteous, respectful and timely manner. All issues and concerns raised by parents / guardians are taken seriously by the supervisor and staff of the child care centre. Every effort will be made to address and resolve issues and concerns to the satisfaction of all parties as quickly as possible. Families can expect an initial response within five business days from the supervisor, designate or manager, after becoming aware of the complaint. The person who raised the issue / concern will be kept informed throughout the resolution. Supervisors will maintain a record of parent complaints on the Family Complaint Log Form and in Ontario Child Care Management System case notes.

At any time during the process the family may choose to involve an external agency such as the Ministry of Education, the College of Early Childhood Educators or Family and Children's Services. 

Confidentiality should be adhered to throughout the complaint resolution process. Every effort will be made to protect the privacy of parents / guardians, children, staff, students and volunteers, except when information must be disclosed for legal reasons. For example, the Ministry of Education, College of Early Childhood Educators, law enforcement authorities or Family and Children Services ). This means that the complaint should only be discussed by those people directly involved in the resolution process and/or governing bodies / agencies.

Steps to be taken by Parent / Guardian to Report Issue / Concern

  • First Point of Contact (should always be the child care centre)

    All issues or concerns about the conduct of staff, students and / or volunteers that puts a child's health, safety and well-being at risk should be reported to the supervisor as soon as parents / guardians become aware of the situation.

    The family should:

    • Contact the centre staff and / or supervisor to discuss the concern.
    • Schedule a time with the supervisor to talk about your concerns if you are unable to connect with the supervisor
    • Be prepared to make notes ahead of time about your concerns
    • Issues or concerns may be brought forward verbally or in writing.
    • Be clear about what's being said (if you need clarification or have concerns about the centre's response, ask them to explain further).
    • Responses and outcomes will be provided verbally, or in writing upon request
    • Arrange a follow up meeting if necessary

    Investigation of issues and concerns will be fair, impartial and respectful to parties involved. If you're unsatisfied or still have concerns you may want to then move to the second point of contact.

  • Second Point of Contact

    The family should:

    • Connect with the Manager of Children's Services, Direct Operations by calling 905-980-6000 ext. 3877 

    Move to the third point of contact if unsatisfied or still have concerns.

  • Third Point of Contact

    The family should:

    • Family to connect with Director of Children's Services by calling 905-980-6000 ext. 3876
  • Additional Points of Contact

    For program concerns, contact the Ministry of Education's Child Care Complaint line:

    • Telephone: 1-877-510-5333
    • Email: childcare_ontario@ontario.ca

    For complaints regarding registered early childhood educators, contact the regulatory body of the College of Early Childhood Educators:

    • Telephone: 1-888-961-8558
    • Email: info@college-ece.ca

    For children in need of protection, or concerns of suspected abuse or neglect of a child, contact Family and Children's Services Niagara:

    • 905-937-7731
    • Everyone, including members of the public and professionals who work closely with children, is required by law to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect
    • If a parent / guardian expresses concerns that a child is being abused or neglected, the parent will be advised to contact the local Children's Aid Society directly which in Niagara is Family and Children's Services
    • Persons who become aware of such concerns are also responsible for reporting this information to Family and Children's Services as per the "Duty to Report" requirement under the Child and Family Services Act

    For environmental health concerns, contact Niagara Region Public Health:

    • Telephone: 905-688-3762 or 1-800-263-7248

Steps to be taken by Staff, Supervisor and / or Licensee in Responding to Issue / Concern

  • Address the initial issue / concern at the time it's raised or arrange a meeting with the parent / guardian within five business days
  • Advise the supervisor or designate
  • Advise the Children's Services manager or designate
  • Document the issue / complaint in the Daily Log when the complaint affects the health, safety and wellbeing of a child
  • Document the issue / concerns in detail. Documentation should include:
    • Date and time the issue / concern was received
    • Name of person who received the issue / concern
    • Name of the person reporting the issue / concern
    • Details of the issue / concern
    • Steps taken to resolve the issue / concern and / or information given to the parent / guardian regarding next steps or referral
    • Contact information for the appropriate person if the person being  notified is unable to address the matter
  • Ensure the investigation of the issue / concern is initiated by the appropriate party within five business days or as soon as reasonably possible thereafter
  • Document reasons for delays in writing
  • Provide resolution or outcome to the parent(s) / guardian(s) who raised the issue / concern
  • Document issue / concern in the Family Complaint Log
  • Indicate parent's needs and feelings
  • Indicate the follow-up
  • Indicate that the detailed notes can be found in the child's file
  • Indicate the final outcome of the issue / concern

Conduct

Our child care centres maintains high standards for positive interaction, communication and role-modeling for children. Harassment and discrimination will therefore not be tolerated from any party. 

If at any point a parent / guardian, provider or staff feels uncomfortable, threatened, abused or belittled, they may immediately end the conversation and report the situation to the supervisor and / or licensee. 

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