File a Complaint
Try to remember the event.
Writing it down can help.
- What happened?
- Where did it happen?
- When did it happen?
- Who was involved?
- What rights were violated?
If you feel safe, try to resolve it on your own.
Can you work it out with the people who were involved? Did you talk to the caregiver or agency/facility staff member? Did you contact your social worker/probation officer and lawyer? We will ask how you tried to resolve the situation when you contact our office.
Check if your complaint is in our jurisdiction.
We have jurisdiction over foster youth rights, care, placement, and services. If your complaint is about something else, see Where to File Your Complaint. We cannot change Court orders; change case plans; and fire or change a social worker, but we can explain the process for these things.
I am in foster care.
Are you a youth in foster care, a youth who is on probation and in out-of-home care, or a non-minor dependent? Do you feel like your rights are being violated? Are you having problems with your care, placement, or services? Are you not getting the help and support you need? Call us at 877-846-1602 or file a complaint online.
I am an adult who is concerned about a child or youth in foster care.
Do you feel like a foster youth’s rights are being violated? Do you have concerns about their care, placement, or services? Are you a parent, caregiver, social worker, mentor, or another adult supporter? Call us at 877-846-1602 or file a complaint online.
I want to file a complaint against a social worker.
Do you have complaints about child welfare practices and social worker conduct? First, try resolving the situation with your county’s chain of command. Contact the social worker’s supervisor and the program manager. If you are still dissatisfied, you can file a county grievance. Write your complaint in a formal letter and address it to the director of the county child welfare agency.
I want to access my child welfare records.
If you want to know if you are listed on the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI), send a self-inquiry request to the Department of Justice.
If you are searching for a letter to prove you were in foster care, call our office at 877-846-1602.
If you would like your adoption records, such as non-identifying background Information about your adoption and about your birth parents, send a request to CDSS or the adoption agency.
If you would like your full case records (child welfare or adoption), contact the dependency court that had jurisdiction of the case.
I want to file a complaint against a foster parent, foster home, or State licensed community care facility.
Are you concerned about how a foster parent is caring for a youth? Are you concerned about how staff members are treating youth in a community care facility? Do you have concerns about the quality of a foster home or community care facility?
File a complaint with the Community Care Licensing Division. This is the division of the State Department of Social Services that licenses and oversees foster family agencies, daycares, group homes, short-term therapeutic residential facilities, foster homes, and residential care for children (and adults) throughout California. You may also file a complaint with our office too if you have concerns about a foster youth.
Foster parents and foster homes that are licensed through a county’s Resource Family Approval (RFA) can be reported to the county Resource Family Approval Point of Contact.
I want to file a complaint about the foster care rate I am receiving.
Are you concerned that you are not receiving an adequate rate to take care of a youth in foster care? Do you believe that additional resources are needed? Contact your social worker and/or your eligibility worker.
I want to file a complaint about the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process.
Do you have a complaint about the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process in your county, such as the timeliness of the application process or a lack of communication? Contact the county’s Resource Family Approval Point of Contact.
If you were decertified (i.e. delicensed), you may file an appeal through the State Hearing process. This information is also listed in the Notice of Action you should have received when the county notified you of decertification.
I want to file a complaint against a law enforcement officer.
Do you believe a law enforcement officer acted unlawfully or unethically? First, file a complaint with the law enforcement agency and your county’s district attorney. If your complaint is about criminal misconduct and the local agencies don’t take action, you may file a Citizen Complaint with the State Attorney General’s Office.
I want to report child abuse and neglect.
Are you concerned about a child being abused or neglected? Report your concerns to your county’s Child Protective Services hotline. Your county’s Child Welfare Agency is responsible for the emergency response and investigation of child abuse and neglect allegations. If the situation is an emergency, please call 911.
I want to file a complaint about my civil rights being violated.
Do you feel like a county agency discriminated against you based on your race, color, religion, sex, national origin (including language, political affiliation, disability, marital status, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or any other protected class? Do you feel like you are not receiving the same benefits and services as others?
File a complaint with your county’s Civil Rights Coordinator. Explain the type of discrimination, what happened, when it happened, who was involved, and the resolution you want. You have 180 days from the date of the event to make a complaint.
I want to file a complaint against a lawyer.
Do you feel like your lawyer is not being ethical or professional? Do you feel like they are not representing your best interest in Court? Does your lawyer not respond to your contact attempts or return your calls or emails? File a complaint with the State Bar of California. The State Bar has jurisdiction over the licensing, regulation, and discipline of lawyers.
I want to file a complaint against a judge.
Do you feel like the judge is not being ethical or professional? Do you feel like they have engaged in judicial misconduct such as being rude, treating people improperly in Court, or delaying decision-making? The Commission on Judicial Performance has jurisdiction over all judges of California’s superior courts, the justices of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and former judges before retirement or resignation.
I want to file a complaint about my family law case.
Do you have complaints about your family law case? Is your complaint related to the amount of a child support order, custody orders, visitation orders, or spousal support orders? These decisions are made through Family Law Court. Contact your county’s Family Law Facilitator for help on how to request changes in any of these orders.
I want to file a complaint about my child support case.
Do you have complaints about your child support case? Does your complaint relate to customer service, the timeliness of service, payment and billing problems, and decisions to close your case? Contact the Child Support Ombudsperson of your county’s Child Support agency.
I want to file a complaint about Medi-Cal issues.
Are you a Medi-Cal member experiencing urgent problems with enrollment and dis-enrollment? Do you need help navigating the Medi-Cal system? Are you having issues with your managed care health plans? Do you have questions about Medi-Cal in general? Do you need help accessing appropriate mental health services? Contact the Medi-Cal Managed Care and Mental Health Office of the Ombudsman.
The California Office of the Foster Care Ombudsperson is dedicated to serving
foster youth in California by investigating and resolving complaints
about foster youth rights, care, placement, and services.
The law that governs the OFCO is Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) 16164.