LOCATE Complaint Policy
A parent who is dissatisfied with a caregiver may call LOCATE to register a complaint. The counselor who receives this type of call must be prepared to talk with the parent about his/her concerns, maintaining a position of respect for the parent’s rights and responsibilities in this matter. In addition, the counselor must provide objective counsel to the complainant and not form a judgment about the child care provider or program being discussed.
Some difficulties between parents and providers can be worked out over a period of time and with discussion. Accordingly, a complainant is provided with suggestions on how to approach the caregiver or center director, when appropriate. However, if the parent calling LOCATE with a concern feels that there has been a violation of a regulatory standard, and it is serious enough to warrant an investigation by the agency responsible for monitoring the facility, the counselor’s role in these situations becomes one of encouraging the parent to report the violation to the appropriate authority, and providing him/her with the name and phone number of the person(s) to whom complaints should be addressed.
The LOCATE Complaint Policy categorizes complaints according to the perceived seriousness of the threat to the health, safety or welfare of the child. The three types of complaints recognized are Serious Complaints, Less Serious Complaints Involving Violation, and Less Serious Complaints-No Violation. The counselor who is the recipient of a complainant’s concern must determine the category in which the concern falls during or immediately after the conversation with the parent. He/she then completes a Complaint Form initiates the process for temporarily stopping referrals to the provider or program by LOCATE when necessary, and informs the LOCATE Director of the action.
When a Serious Complaint Involving Violation is received, referrals to the facility cease. The LOCATE Director has the responsibility of approving or rescinding this Temporary Hold Status, based on the perceived seriousness of the violation. When the situation warrants, the facility’s record may remain on Temporary Hold until the next meeting of the LOCATE Advisory Committee. During the interim, the Director contacts OCC at 410-514-7850 concerning the alleged violation, and informs the provider or program of LOCATE’s actions. The LOCATE Advisory Committee reviews the case at its meeting and, based on the results of OCC’s investigation, recommends removal of the facility from referral, extension of the Temporary Hold status, or reinstatement. The caregiver or program director is then informed of the Committee’s decision. Providers removed from the referral files may appeal that decision through the LOCATE Committee and the Maryland Committee for Children Board.
For complaints falling in either of the other two categories, the LOCATE Director determines whether OCC and/or provider will be notified. The committee receives statistical information on the complaint at its regularly scheduled meeting.