Child safety

Find out how to make a complaint about a child safety matter and whether we can help.

What is harm to a child?

The Child Protection Act 1999 defines harm to a child as anything that has a significant detrimental effect on the child’s physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing.

Harm can be caused by physical, psychological or emotional abuse or neglect, sexual abuse or exploitation.

Harm can occur in any location where a child lives or is cared for, including private homes, foster homes, group homes, other institutions, youth detention centres and many more.

Reporting child abuse

Anyone can contact the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability with concerns about a child who is at risk or who has been harmed.

If you suspect that a child or young person is experiencing harm or neglect or is at risk of harm, you can contact the department.

During normal business hours you can call the department’s Regional Intake Services (RIS):

  • Brisbane RIS –1300 682 254
  • Central Queensland RIS –1300 703 762
  • Far North Queensland RIS –1300 684 062
  • North Coast RIS –1300 703 921
  • North Queensland RIS –1300 706 147
  • South East RIS –1300 679 849
  • South West RIS –1300 683 390

After business hours and on weekends call the department’s Child Safety After Hours Service Centre on 1800 177 135 or (07) 3235 9999. This service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Child safety complaints

You can make a complaint about the department or a funded service provider through the department’s complaints management system.

Learn more about making a complaint to an agency.

Making a complaint to us

If you are unhappy with the department’s response, you can make your complaint to us.

Learn more about what to expect if you make a complaint to us.

Lodging an appeal with QCAT

The Child Protection Act 1999 sets out a number of decisions made by the department that can be reviewed by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

These include decisions relating to:

  • who will care for the child
  • informing parents about who is caring for their child and where they are living
  • restricting or imposing conditions on contact
  • removing the child from a particular carer.

For information on lodging an appeal, you can email or phone the QCAT Registrar on 1300 753 228.

We do not have the power to review the decisions of QCAT.

Other contacts

The Office of the Public Guardian protects the rights of children and young people in the child protection system, and can be contacted on 1800 661 533.

Alternatively, you can contact Legal Aid on 1300 651 188 or seek your own legal advice about the matter. Find your closest community legal centre.

If you or your children are victims of domestic violence and need support, contact DVConnect on 1800 811 811.

If you are a foster or kinship carer and need support, contact Foster Care Queensland on 3256 6166.