This Charter summarises our services and service commitments to you and your rights and obligations as our clients, including how to let us know if you are not satisfied with our services.
What We Do
ParentLine is a telephone counselling, information, guidance and referral service for families in the ACT or region. The service operates for anyone - parent, child, relative or friend - with a concern about any parenting or parenting related issue. Telephone support is provided by paid professional staff in the office and by trained volunteers working from home.
In addition to telephone work we also provide free face to face counselling.
The service is available also to talk to community groups or organisations about parenting and family issues.
Our Commitments To You
Access to Our Services
You can expect us to respond as promptly as possible to your call or contact with us.
- If you call during office hours and are directed to the answering service (because the lines are busy or the office is temporarily unattended), we will respond as soon as possible within the next 24 hours.
- If you call after hours by telephone, we will return your call during the next working day.
- If you have a volunteer support worker, s/he will make initial contact with you at the time or during the period agreed with you. Subsequently, s/he will ring you at the nominated contact time unless this is changed by either of you through direct phone contact from the support worker or by you contacting our office.
- If you have a face to face counsellor, s/he will be available to see you at the time and place agreed unless this is varied by either of you through direct contact or contact with our office.
- Our workers will strive to give you adequate notice of any change to agreed contact times.
- If you have a disability or circumstance that makes it difficult for you to access our services ( eg you cannot make outgoing calls from your home phone)
- If you make us aware of this, we will strive to provide access for you
Our Contact With You
In our contact with you, we undertake:
- To provide you with trained workers receiving ongoing training and supervision;
- To treat you with courtesy, respect and sensitivity to your point of view, ethics, religion, culture and gender;
- To keep your concerns and empowerment our primary focus;
- To give you information that is appropriate, relevant and up to date;
- If your contact with us is on-going, to regularly review your needs and issues with you regularly – at least every three months; and
- To give you the opportunity to see and comment on our records about you.
Anonymity and Confidentiality
We are now partnered with Marymead. For this partnership we are now required to ask for more personal information for funding purposes. We undertake:
- To give you the choice to remain anonymous.
- To ensure that personal information that you choose to give is entered into the Data Exchange web-based portal which is administered by the Department of Social Services. Here your first and last name will be replaced with a unique code that de-identifies your information when displayed to DSS.
- To ensure that any session information is entered into Marymead's secure database. This allows other programs to see that you have accessed services, but have no ability to see any notes stored under your file name.
- Not to divulge any information about you without your permission, unless not to divulge would cause immediate danger to someone or put one of our workers at risk, or the divulgence is required legally or for a support worker’s debriefing, supervision or case hand-over.
- If we have asked your permission for disclosure for research purposes, to give you at least a week to consider the request, the option of withdrawing your consent at any time and the opportunity to see the results relating to you.
Note: Our counselors and volunteer support workers may choose to retain their anonymity by not divulging any of their personal details to you and/or by using a pseudonym.
What We Ask of You
In your contacts with us, we ask that you reciprocate our commitments to you by:
- Keeping your telephone or face to face appointments with us and when unable to do so, advising us as soon as possible beforehand.
- Committing to the joint work involved, including being honest and open about your issues and what would be helpful to you, using the time well, owning the choices you make and giving us feedback on your concerns throughout.
- Treating our workers with respect and courtesy.
Complaints and Feedback
In the interests of giving you the best possible service, we want to quickly resolve any problems you are experiencing or have experienced with us; in the interests of continuously improving our services, we also invite your regular feedback and suggestions about our services.
- If you are unhappy with the actions of any of the people with whom you are dealing in either of our services, we encourage you to raise the issue with that person, who will seek to resolve it.
- If you are not happy with the worker’s efforts to resolve the situation or if you strongly prefer not to raise the issue with him/her directly, you can talk or write about the problem with one of our managers, through our office (contact details are below). Our managers will seek to resolve the problem in consultation with you and the worker involved (and in the case of written complaints, also in consultation with the Parentline Management Committee and its insurers). You can also write directly to the President of the ParentLine Management committee at the address below.
- In every case, we will strive to resolve your problem quickly, fairly, confidentially and constructively.
- If you have feedback to give, we encourage you to contact one of our managers, who will be delighted, on behalf of the organisation, to hear it and pass it on to the worker involved; alternatively, you are welcome to mention it directly to the worker.
- If you have ideas for improvements to our services, we encourage you to speak with one of our managers, or your worker, who will pass on your suggestion.
- We may also contact you briefly, after your contact with us is over, to get your feedback on your contact with us, and any ideas you formed about possible improvements to our services. Your feedback will be used to inform the further development of our services.
How to Contact Us
See the Contact Us section for details on how to contact Parentline ACT.