ACT Education Directorate’s report outlines missing children, inadequate supervision

ACT Education Directorate’s report outlines missing children, inadequate supervision

by Freya Lucas

December 15, 2021

The ACT Education Directorate’s 2020-2021 annual report has outlined more than 1,500 complaints and incidents reported in the ACT’s early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector during the 2020-2021 financial year, the most serious of them related to allegations of harm to children, missing or unaccounted for minors, inadequate supervision, and non-compliant staffing arrangements.


The report outlines 1,516 notifications of incidents or complaints which occurred at service providers around the Australian Capital Territory, 49 of which were investigated by the Children’s Education and Care Assurance, who are responsible for upholding the National Quality Standard in the ACT. 


At the end of June 2021, 19 investigations were in progress, while 49 were closed during the financial year. Five of the completed investigations had been carried over from the previous financial year, the report noted.


The overwhelming majority of the notifications, the Directorate clarified, are related to minor incidents rather than complaints or serious incidents.


128 compliance actions were issued during the financial year, ranging from administrative letters, conditions on providers or service approvals, enforceable undertakings, to emergency action notices, compliance directions and compliance notices. Some of these actions also extended to suspensions or cancellations of provider or service approvals.


Ratings and standards 


The report also gave insights into the rating and standards of services in the ACT’s ECEC sector. Of the 370 approved services in the Territory, 44 per cent are rated as ‘exceeding’, 32 per cent as ‘meeting’, and 23 per cent as ‘working towards’.


These figures are broadly consistent with what was recorded in 2020, although the report noted the percentage of services with a ‘working towards’ rating has continued to decline year-on-year.


The full ACT Education Directorate 2020-2021 annual report is available in the link provided.