Child care service providers are being warned that they need to ensure children in their care are supervised at all times.
The warning comes after the State Administrative Tribunal ordered education and care provider OSHClub Pty Ltd to pay $36,000 and $6000 in costs following investigations into incidents at its Bicton and Treendale services.
The investigation carried out by the Department of Communities found that:
- on 8 February 2019 a three-year-old child was found outside his classroom at OSHClub’s Bicton service alone and unsupervised, despite having been collected from his classroom by one of the service’s educators approximately ten minutes earlier.
- on 11 February 2019 a four-and-a-half-year-old child was found beside the road outside his school, unsupervised by the Treendale service, despite having been collected from his school classroom by one of the service’s educators a short time before.
- on 13 February 2019 a three-year-old child was found by his mother standing in the teachers’ carpark at the Bicton service, alone and unsupervised.
The Department of Communities made two applications to the State Administrative Tribunal, one regarding each service, alleging that OSHClub Pty Ltd failed to ensure that all children being educated and cared for by the services were adequately supervised at all times, in contravention of section 165(1) of the Education and Care Service National Law (Western Australia).
The applications were filed in May 2019. OSHClub Pty Ltd had previously been fined by the Tribunal for contravening section 165(1), and the Tribunal took this into account in setting its penalty.
Quotes from Assistant Director General, Commissioning and Sector Engagement, Brad Jolly:
“This action and outcome should serve as a warning to providers in the child care industry.
“Being approved to operate a child care service in Western Australia carries with it significant responsibilities and obligations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children enrolled at the child care service.
“A child being able to leave a child care service unsupervised is completely unacceptable.
“Having one operator being disciplined by the State Administrative Tribunal for three similar breaches of the National Law within a relatively short period is of great concern to the Department of Communities as the regulator, as I am sure it would be to parents with children attending the service.
“Inadequate supervision was cited by the Department of Communities in all these cases.
“Where the Department identifies repeated non-compliance, it monitors those providers more closely to ensure they have implemented appropriate corrective measures to protect the safety and wellbeing of the children in their care.
“Department of Communities officers continue to undertake targeted inspections of services, including unannounced and announced visits, and investigate all reported instances of non-compliance.”
Media contact: Nick Butterly (08) 6217 4077