27 September 2023

Child carer fined after one runs free

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The Department of Communities has issued a warning to childcare providers to ensure adequate supervision of their children.

The warning comes after the Department took disciplinary action against a southern suburbs childcare service at Wellard.

The childcare service was ordered to pay a $21,000 global penalty and $1,000 in legal costs by the State Administrative Tribunal following an incident in August last year.

A Department investigation found that at around 4.25pm on 16 August 2021, a three-year-old boy left the service through its front door and gate, unsupervised and unnoticed by staff.

The service is located adjacent to the Wellard Train Station carpark, and CCTV footage showed the child running on the footpath, crossing into the train station carpark, and running through the carpark.

A parent, who was leaving the service after collecting his own child, followed the child into the train station carpark and another member of the public alerted the service, who collected the child from the train station carpark. The child was unsupervised by the service for about six minutes.

The investigation found that the door leading from the kindy yard to the reception area was not locked during the operation of the service, and the child was able to slide it open.

The front entry door to the service and external gate were opened by parents leaving the service after collecting their children, and the child followed people leaving the service through the front door and gate.

Executive Director, Regulation and Quality at the Department of Communities, Phil Payne said the situation was completely preventable.

“It is incumbent on childcare providers to ensure that all children are adequately supervised at all times while in the care of the service,” Mr Payne said.

“Proper training of childcare staff in supervision is a must, and specific strategies must be put in place to manage and supervise children who have or may have additional needs.”

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