How to Make a Complaint About a Daycare or Early Childhood Education Service

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You can either make your complaint by going to the online confidential form here or make a complaint direct to the Ministry of Education. Should your child be seriously harmed, suffer injury or neglect, or if the service is not up to scratch (see the rules and regulations) then please report this as soon as possible. 

If you do not have time or do not feel comfortable contacting the Ministry of Education yourself, you can ask My ECE to help by passing on your complaint to the Ministry and (if you request) keep your identity confidential (go to the online Complaint form). My ECE is a neutral go-between. My ECE does not investigate complaints, take sides, or pass judgement.

To make a complaint direct to the Ministry of Education, the email address is: [email protected]  In the subject line of your email write “complaint against ____ (and the name of the early childhood service).  In your email, include the full name of the service, its full address, and details about what has gone wrong and as much information as you can remember (e.g., dates).  If you don’t want the Ministry to reveal you name to the service as the complainant, then tell the ministry you require it to keep you name and any personally identifying information strictly confidential.

Should you not hear back personally from someone at the ministry within a week to confirm that they have received your complaint and that they will be looking into it, then send the email again and follow it up.  Don’t let your complaint be lost in the system.  Should you wish to be informed of the outcome of the investigation into the centre or service, it is your right to ask the ministry to inform you of the outcome.

If you are not satisfied with how the Ministry of Education responded, then you may wish to inform the Ombudsman and make a complaint against the Ministry of Education to the Ombudsman. Call 0800 802 602. It is your right to be listened to and to have your complaint adequately investigated.

Making a complaint direct to the service

A complaint may concern something that does not involve a breach of regulations, for example, your child is coming home without socks and your child’s socks are always going missing at the service. Should the problem concern something that you think the early childhood service could sort out itself, then direct your complaint to the person in-charge/manager and not to other staff.

By making the complaint in writing the service will need to give you a response and will not later be able to claim that you did not make a complaint or that it was just a little gripe that didn’t need to be acted on.  If you are not happy with the service’s response, report the issue or problem to the Ministry of Education.  It is your right to be listened to.

The Fair Trading Act

It is illegal for any business (including an early childhood service) to give false and misleading information in the promotion and sale of goods and services (this includes fees charges). Report to the Commerce Commission by emailing [email protected], or call 0800 943 600. 

The Consumer Guarantees Act

Does the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 apply to an early childhood education and care service?  The answer is yes. To explain: by virtue of the Consumer Guarantees Act, there is a guarantee that educational services will be delivered by the ECE service with reasonable skill and care.  You may be able to ask for compensation to reflect the lower value of the service you have received.  Contact the consumer protection hotline at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)
Freephone: 0508 426 678 (0508 4 CONSUMER), Email: [email protected]

Ethics and Best Practices

Click on the following titles for: 

Every early childhood service is legally required to display (or provide to parents in Home-based ECE) a copy of its complaints procedure. The complaints procedure must tell parents what the contact details are for the local office of the Ministry of Education for making a complaint to.  

You may also like to read:

Articles and research on the complaints system in early childhood education in NZ

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