Childcare service providers are again being reminded of the importance of effective supervision of children in their care after disciplinary action was taken by the Department of Communities.

Service provider K G Coleman Pty Ltd, trading as 4 Big Kids, was ordered to pay $9,000 and $1,000 costs by the State Administrative Tribunal for contravention of section 165(1) of the Education and Care Service National Law (Western Australia), following the investigation of an incident in June of this year.

The Department of Communities investigation found that a six-year-old child with additional needs was left alone and unsupervised in a room at the out-of-school-hours service, which was located at North Mandurah Primary School, while educators left the premises to drop children at other schools.

The investigation found that the child was left unsupervised by educators for about 20 minutes before being found by staff members of the school, in a distressed state.

Quotes from Karen Harfield, Assistant Director General, Integrity, Intelligence and Professional Standards

“This outcome should serve as a warning to providers in the childcare industry.

“Being approved to operate a childcare service in Western Australia carries with it significant responsibilities and obligations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children enrolled at the service.

“It is important that childcare providers review their supervision policies and practices to ensure they are adequate and meet the individual needs of all children enrolled.

“The supervision policies and procedures must be robust and include frequent headcounts and premises checks, especially during transition times, to ensure all children are accounted for.

“The services must also have policies and procedures relating to the transportation of children which includes staff counting the children getting on and off a vehicle and a thorough sweep before locking the vehicle.

“Similarly, all rooms and spaces at the premises should be checked to ensure no children are left unsupervised.

“Staff should be trained in the service policies and procedures to ensure that they are embedded in their service practices.”

Media contact: Steve Worner 0418 918 299