Child Care Center Operators
How to File a Complaint with Community Care Licensing
Produced by the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services
[As the series host speaks off-screen, a series of staged scenes show hazards at a child care program, like animal poisons in the outdoor area and an open gate surrounded by debris.]
Parents, the general rule with complaints is if you see something, say something. Saying something might mean notifying your provider if you have a minor concern, [Host on-screen] or speaking to them directly if you think you see an immediate health or safety risk. Most providers will respond positively to such input from families. However, if your child’s provider does not address your concerns, you may need to take further action. In most of these cases, filing a complaint with the licensing department will be the next step.
[Three licensing representatives speak.]
Community Care Licensing Representative 1:
Reports received by Community Care Licensing about situations that may threaten the health and safety of children in care are always taken seriously.
Community Care Licensing Representative 2:
Whether you’re a family member of a child in care, an employee of a facility, or a concerned member of the community, anyone who sees what they believe to be a problem at a child care facility can and should report it. If you see something, say something.
Community Care Licensing Representative 3:
A formal complaint begins a process that can determine whether or not a facility is in compliance, and can help make it possible that violations in facilities are investigated and corrected.
CCL Rep #2:
If parents are familiar with regulations that affect their child’s safety, they can be especially helpful in keeping facilities in compliance.
CCL Rep #1:
While there are child care facilities that do not require a license because they are legally exempt, there are some facilities that are unlicensed and providing care illegally.
CCL Rep #2:
If you become aware of an unlicensed child care facility, please file a complaint with licensing. Unlicensed facilities are operating outside of licensing laws and regulations. These facilities put children at risk because they don’t have required safeguards in place.
[The host speaks, and the questions she asks are displayed on a white board.]
What are some general categories that complaints fall under?
[The host speaks as the corresponding content is displayed onscreen.]
Most complaints concern:
- health and safety,
- care and supervision,
- and recordkeeping.
If you think a child care provider is violating licensing laws and regulations, you are encouraged to file a complaint.
How do I file a complaint about a child care provider or facility?
There are a few ways that complaints can be filed. Community Care Licensing has a centralized complaint and information bureau, which maintains a complaint hotline that you can call. The phone number is 1-844-538-8766. That’s 1-844-Let-Us-No. Or you can use the email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also go to the Community Care Licensing website at www.ccld.ca.gov. [Images of the website briefly appear.] There is a link that allows you to email a complaint directly to the division’s webmaster. Finally, you can write a letter and either mail or fax it to the Community Care Licensing office in your community.
What information should I provide when I file a complaint?
First, and most importantly, please make sure you provide your name and contact information. This will allow Community Care Licensing to contact you if more information is needed, call you back if you were disconnected, and follow up with you about the results of the complaint investigation.
Be assured your identity will not be revealed to anyone while the investigation is being conducted, including the licensee. You must also provide:
- the name of the facility,
- its location,
- and if possible, the facility license number.
In addition, the more information you can provide about your concern, the better, including:
- what you saw;
- when and where you saw it;
- who or what was involved in the situation, such as
– a provider or teacher,
– one or more children,
– or a piece of equipment.
What happens after I file a complaint?
Community Care Licensing must initiate an investigation within 10 days of receiving a complaint. However, if another agency is also involved in the investigation, we may exceed that time frame. If the investigation reveals a licensing violation, and the allegation needs further investigation, then licensing staff will estimate time for completion on the complaint investigation report. Though the investigation should not take longer than 90 days, if other agencies are involved, it could exceed this time frame. Regardless of the outcome, Community Care Licensing will contact you with the results of the investigation as long as you provided your contact information.
Are there any complaints that Community Care Licensing does not investigate?
Community Care Licensing is responsible for upholding California’s licensing laws and regulations. Complaints that do not come under the jurisdiction of our department include:
- employee complaints about salary or lack of payment,
- violations of local ordinances that are not related to children’s safety,
- and contractual disputes between parents and providers.
Community Care Licensing may not investigate if they receive complaints that are intended to be retaliation against the licensee or staff.
We can all play an important role in protecting the health and safety of children in child care. Let’s remember these key points about filing complaints with Community Care Licensing. Any member of the public can file a complaint about a child care facility. If you see something, say something. Your complaint will help keep children in care safe.
The types of complaints that should be directed to Community Care Licensing include: health and safety concerns, care and supervision issues, and recordkeeping concerns. Formal complaints can be submitted using the Community Care Licensing hotline, 1-844-538-8766, that’s 1-844-Let-Us-No, or through email, letter, or fax.
Including specific information about the facility and the nature of the complaint will help ensure that Community Care Licensing can respond quickly and effectively. When you report suspected violations, you not only protect the children, but you also perform a service to the community.
State of California