More than $20,000 in penalties after child escapes
The Sector > Quality > Compliance > More than $20,000 in penalties for ECEC service in WA for failure to adequately supervise

More than $20,000 in penalties for ECEC service in WA for failure to adequately supervise

by Freya Lucas

April 18, 2024

An early childhood provider in Western Australia has been fined $22,000, plus an additional $2,500 toward the Department of Communities’ legal costs, after a toddler was left in the outdoor playspace for nearly an hour and a half in the middle of the day. 


The agreed circumstances of the case are that a young boy, aged two and a half years, was left outside following a handover between educators, one of whom was new to the service, and who was unaware of the service’s policies and procedures around conducting headcounts, or checking the outside space prior to leaving it. 


As a result, the child was left in the playground while his peers ate lunch and slept, being discovered by one of the more established team members when she went outside to retrieve her water bottle, finding him in the back corner of the playground hot, sweating and crying. 


The child was brought inside, given a cool compress, and required no further medical follow up. 


A subsequent investigation of the incident by the Department of Communities found that the service had contravened section 165(1) of the Education and Care Services National Law (WA) Act 2012 for the offence of inadequate supervision of a child.


“The Education and Care Regulatory Unit will continue to work with Education and Care providers to ensure they have adequate measures in place to support their staff in delivering appropriate supervision of children,” Phil Payne, Executive Director, Regulation and Quality, Department of Communities said.


“The importance of active supervision and conducting timely physical headcounts at regular intervals and in particular during transition periods is crucial in ensuring adequate supervision is provided.”


Further guidance about the importance of active supervision is available on the ACECQA website, here. 

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