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COMPLAINTS/GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

I.          PROCEDURE SUMMARY

Persons served have a number of rights regarding the manner in which services are provided. If they believe that these rights have been violated, that they have not been treated with respect and courtesy, or that services have been inappropriate or insufficient, there are timely steps which they can take to voice their concerns, expect to be heard and receive a response.

 

A formal procedure has been developed for reviewing complaints that cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the person served through discussion with Agency personnel. It is a process established to address complaints about the resolution/disposition resulting from an assessment of abuse or neglect; or about complaints regarding services covered by a case plan, namely: substandard service; change in service; withdrawal of a service; or failure to provide a mandated service as described in the case plan.

 

When addressing adoption-related complaints, a face-to-face meeting is required with the adoptive applicant, prospective adoptive family or adoptive family within 10 days of receipt of the Grievance Form. The adoptive family caseworker and the Executive Director/designee must be in attendance at this meeting.

II.        PARTIES ELIGIBLE TO REQUEST A GRIEVANCE REVIEW HEARING

A.        This grievance review and appeal procedure is to be used by parents, custodians, legal guardians, kinship care providers, applicants or providers of approved adult-supervised living arrangements, foster/adoptive parents/applicants, parties to a case plan and children. Additionally, alleged perpetrators who disagree with the disposition of the case may also utilize this procedure.

B.        Exceptions not eligible for grievance review and appeal procedure are:

1.         removal of a child resulting from a court order;

2.         removal of a child pending the outcome of an assessment in response to a report of child abuse or neglect allegedly committed by any member of the foster home;

3.         removal of a child based on revocation of the foster home license or certificate;

4.         removal of a child who has been placed on a voluntary basis by a parent or custodian;       

5.         allegations of suspected child maltreatment by foster parents, adoptive parents or Agency personnel; and\

6.         cases involving any court action.                  

C.        Exceptions will be handled in accordance with existing state and federal laws, rules, policies and procedures and in accordance with the Washington County Memorandum of Understanding.

III.       PROCEDURE STEPS

A.        The “Introduction to WCCS” pamphlet includes information about the right to file a complaint by persons served. This pamphlet is distributed by various methods: hand-delivered upon the initial contact, available in the lobby or sent via mail. A worker will review the pamphlet’s contents about rights, responsibilities and complaints during the first face-to-face visit or via telephone, and the person served will be requested to sign a proof of receipt that will be placed in the Agency record.

B.        The disposition letter sent to the alleged perpetrator following an abuse/neglect investigation contains language advising of the right to appeal the case disposition through the Complaint/Grievance Procedure and the specifics on how to obtain a copy of the Complaint/Grievance Brochure.

 

C.        The Complaint/Grievance Brochure will be provided in person or sent via mail to any person wanting to file a complaint within three working days of receiving the request. 

                       
Step 1

The person who is affected by the concern/problem must make the complaint. The complaint shall be initiated within 30 days of the activity causing concern. The complainant is required to discuss his/her concerns with the involved employee.

 
Step 2

If the complaint is not resolved in Step 1, the complainant must contact the involved employee’s supervisor within five working days to discuss his/her complaint. The supervisor will investigate the concern and report back to the complainant via telephone and/or in writing within 10 working days. If the person served does not contact the supervisor or fails to respond to the supervisor who has attempted contact with the complainant within the required time frame, the complaint is considered resolved.

 
Step 3

If the complaint is not resolved in Step 2, the complainant must contact the involved employee’s supervisor within five working days of receiving the decision from Step 2 and request a face-to-face meeting to discuss the problem with the involved employee, his/her supervisor and a non-involved party other than the Executive Director. After the meeting, a member of the group will report back to the complainant in writing within 10 working days. If the person served does not request a meeting within the required time frame, the complaint is considered resolved.

 
Step 4

If the complaint is not resolved in Step 3, the complainant may request that all documentation from Steps 1-3 be provided to the Executive Director for review. The complainant may also choose to submit a written statement describing the concern. The request for review by the Executive Director must be completed within five working days of receiving the decision from Step 3. If the person served does not submit his/her request for a review by the Executive Director within the required time frame, the complaint is considered resolved.

 
Step 5

Upon receipt of the documentation from Steps 1-3, the Executive Director/designee will investigate and respond in writing to the complainant within 15 working days. The decision of the Executive Director/designee shall be final.

 

D.        All foster care/adoption-related complaints shall follow Steps 1 through 3.  If the complaint has not been resolved after completing Step 3, the complainant must complete and submit a written statement describing the concern on the Grievance Form to the Executive Director within 10 working days of discussing the concern with the supervisor. A face-to-face meeting with the adoptive applicant, prospective adoptive family or adoptive family requesting the review, the adoptive family caseworker and the Executive Director/designee will be scheduled within 10 days of receipt of the Grievance Form.

 

E.         Foster care/adoption complaints must be resolved in 30 days, all other complaints must be resolved within 90 days. Any complaints/grievances not resolved within the identified time frames will be reviewed by the Executive Director/designee.

 

F.         Washington County Children Services (WCCS) will provide barrier specific and/or individualized services to individuals with hearing or visual impairment or who speak a language other than English.

IV.       COMPLAINTS REGARDING SPECIFIC SERVICES

A.        Complaints Regarding Rights of Persons Served or Foster/Adoptive Caregivers/Applicants Concerns


Families have the right to request a state hearing when they do not agree with a decision regarding their adoption federal or state subsidy request; or if a family believes that an adoptive placement was denied or will be denied solely for the reasons of geographic location of the family. Requests for a state hearing can be made directly through the local agency or by contacting the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Bureau of State Hearings, P.O.

Box 182825, Columbus, Ohio 43218-2825.

 

Complaints regarding allegations of discriminatory acts, policies or practices in the foster or adoption process that involve race, color or national origin will follow the Complaints of Discrimination in the Foster Care/Adoption Process Procedure, addressing those concerns, per OAC 5101:2-33-03.

 

B.        Complaints Regarding the Disposition of an Assessment of Abuse/Neglect

 

If the person alleged to have caused abuse/neglect disagrees with the disposition, a formal appeal may be filed by using the Complaint/Grievance Procedure. When this grievance process results in a change of the disposition of a child abuse or neglect report, the Agency shall immediately update the statewide automated child welfare database according to procedures contained in Rule 5101:2-35-16 of the Administrative Code.

 
C.        Complaints Regarding Case Plan Services
 

If a complaint involves disagreement with a case plan which has been filed with the court, the person served should contact his/her attorney about filing a motion to have the court review the plan. If a complaint involves a disagreement with a case plan in a voluntary case, the Complaint/

Grievance Procedure shall be followed.

V.        COMPLAINTS MAY ALSO BE SENT TO:

A.        Complaints regarding state policies, rules and regulations should be directed to:

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Office for Families and Children
50 W. Town Street, 6th floor, Suite 400
Columbus, OH 43215
1-866-886-3537, Option 4

B.        Complaints regarding adoption subsidies or denial of placement due to geographic location should be directed to:

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
State Hearing Department
P.O. Box 182825
Columbus, OH 43218-2825
1-866-635-3748

C.        Complaints regarding licensed counselors and/or social workers should be directed to:

Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board
77 South High Street, 16th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
1-866-635-3748

D.        Complaints regarding discrimination due to disabilities should be directed to:

Ohio Legal Rights Service
8 East Long St, 5th Floor
Columbus, OH 43266
1-800-282-9181      

E.         Complaints regarding violations of civil rights should be directed to:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Office for Civil Rights, Region V
233 North Michigan Ave., Suite 240
Chicago, Illinois 60601
1-312-886-2359

VI.       DOCUMENTATION

All activities associated with a grievance review shall be documented in the case record.

VII.     DISTRIBUTION PROCESS

The Complaint/Grievance Procedure and Grievance Form will be given to all persons served upon request.  New staff will receive information about the Complaint & Grievance Procedure during orientation. 

VIII.    RESPONSIBILITIES

All staff will adhere to this procedure.

IX.      DATE FOR FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS PROCEDURE
 
Upon approval.

X.        FORMS/INFORMATION ASSOCIATED WITH THIS PROCEDURE           

Complaint and Grievance Review Policy (Brochure)

Grievance Form

Complaints of Discrimination in the Foster Care/Adoptive Process


Procedure Section Code: All Agency


Date Approved:
10/22/01                                                                                 

_______________________
Dave Copen
Executive Director

Revision Date: 5/23/05, 1/4/06, 11/30/06, 1/13/07, 5/30/09, 12/3/10

Next Review Date: 5/23/06, 1/4/07, 11/30/07, 1/13/08, 5/30/10, 12/3/11