WA OSHC provider cops $13,000 in fines and costs following February serious incident
An outside school hours care provider in Western Australia has been ordered to pay $12,000, and $1,000 towards costs, by the State Administrative Tribunal for contravention of section 165(1) of the Education and Care Service National Law (WA) Act, following an incident in February of this year.
The provider was given an additional $1,000 penalty for contravention of regulation 170(1) of the Education and Care Services National Regulations for failing to follow its own emergency procedures for the same incident. This penalty represents the maximum penalty possible under the National Regulations for this contravention.
Management instructs educators not to involve police
The incident in question occurred in February of this year when a four year old left the service unsupervised and unnoticed by educators. The child was last seen by staff between approximately 5:10pm and 5:15pm.
Staff only realised the child was missing around 5.30pm, during their headcount. Police were not alerted to the missing child until 5.52pm, following explicit management instruction to not contact the Police, in direct contravention of the approved provider’s emergency procedures which stated that staff are to contact 000 if a child cannot be located within 10 minutes.
The child was found by one of his parents at the front of their home at approximately 6.00pm. He had been found wandering the streets by an unknown adult female and male. The child would have had to cross a number of roads, including a busy dual carriageway, to reach the house.
The child was missing from the service for between 35 and 50 minutes.
Catherine Stoddart, Deputy Director General – Governance, Intelligence and Reform, Department of Communities, said the outcome of the investigation should serve as a warning to other providers to not be complacent when it comes to supervision.
“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 childcare service,” she said.
“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. Approved providers must consider the service surroundings, put in place effective risk assessments and conduct regular checks with ongoing reviews of staff practices and effectiveness of practices.”
For more information on effective supervision practices please see here.