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Your voice

In an asylum seekers centre

In an asylum seekers centre it may seem as if you have little influence on things. You have to wait until the judge decides about your asylum procedure. The COA decides which rules apply in the asylum seekers centre. And you are obliged to go to school. If you don’t agree with something, then you do have an influence. You can have your say in a Youth Council. You can also file a complaint with the COA. The Youth Council

Join the conversation

Many asylum seekers centres have Youth Councils. A Youth Council is a type of club. In this club youngsters can discuss certain matters. They consult on what is and what isn’t going well in an asylum seekers centre. The Youth Council talks with the COA if something goes wrong. This has already improved a number of things. If you would like to have your say in your asylum seekers centre then taking part in a Youth Council is a good idea.
Complain to the COA

Are you angry or do you disagree with a decision?

Are you angry about something? Or you don’t agree with a decision of the COA? You can then file a complaint. Examples of this include:
  • if your shower hasn’t worked for a while.
  • if a member of staff of the COA is unkind to you.
  • if your neighbour is always making a noise.
Read about how to file a complaint with the COA below.

Talk first

Try to talk first with the person you have a complaint about. You can then explain what your issue is or you can explain why you don’t agree with a decision. You can always ask someone to help you during the talk. This can be a neighbour, school teacher or an acquaintance.

Send a letter

If talking doesn’t help, put your complaint onto paper. Ask the COA for a complaints form. In any case, include the following in this form: - Your name and address and the date on which you are writing the letter. - Explain why you are complaining. - Also give the date of the event you are complaining about. - Put your name at the bottom of the letter. Send your letter of complaint to the COA. If you find it hard to write a letter of complaint, you can also ask someone of the Dutch Council for Refugees to help you.

Clarify your complaint to the COA

You can clarify your complaint with the COA. The person you are complaining about is also allowed to join in. He or she can explain what he or she thinks. You can always ask someone to help you. This can be a neighbour, school teacher or an acquaintance.

A message within six weeks

The COA has to reply within six weeks. The COA must then explain what will happen with your complaint. If the COA has a good reason then it can reply another four weeks later. The COA does have to let you know this.

If you aren’t satisfied

Not satisfied with the COA’s reply? Or nothing has changed? You can then submit a new complaint with the national ombudsman or the ombudsman for children. He/she will examine whether the COA did everything right.

Important to know

As a child you can’t officially complain, so it’s practical if one of your parents or carers signs the letter. The COA gives you proof if you hand in a letter of complaint. This is called ‘proof of receipt’. Keep this document. The person you are complaining about will get a copy of your letter. You complaint will be treated by someone else than the person you are complaining about.

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