Reminder for childcare service providers

Media release
The Department of Communities is urging childcare providers to ensure adequate supervision of children, after taking disciplinary action against a southern suburbs service.
Banner text which reads media release.

Service provider Maragon Australia Pty Ltd, trading as Busy Bees at Wellard, was ordered to pay a $21,000 global penalty and $1,000 in legal costs by the State Administrative Tribunal for contravention of sections 165(1) and 167(1) of the Education and Care Service National Law (Western Australia), following an incident in August last year.

A Department of Communities investigation found that at around 4.25pm on 16 August 2021, a three-year-old boy left the service – through its front door and gate – unsupervised and unnoticed by staff.

The service is located adjacent to Wellard train station carpark, and CCTV footage showed the child running on the footpath, crossing into the train station carpark, and running through the carpark.

A parent, who was leaving the service after collecting his own child, followed the child into the train station carpark and another member of public alerted the service.

The service staff then collected the child from the train station carpark. The child was unsupervised by the service for about six minutes.

Prior to leaving the service, the child was in the outdoor yard area and kindy rooms. The investigation found that the door leading from the kindy yard to the reception area was not locked during the operation of the service, and the child was able to slide the door open.

The front entry door to the service and external gate were opened by parents leaving the service after collecting their children, and the child followed people leaving the service through the front door and gate.

Quotes from Phil Payne, Executive Director, Regulation and Quality, Department of Communities

“This is yet another incident that shows the importance of vigilant supervision in childcare services.

“This was a completely preventable situation. Operators must ensure that children are not in harm’s way. The Department may apply additional sanctions where children are put at risk.

“It is incumbent on childcare providers to ensure that all children are adequately supervised at all times while in the care of the service. 

“Proper training of childcare staff in supervision is a must, and specific strategies must be put in place to manage and supervise children who have or may have additional needs.

“The fact that a child was able to pass through unsecured doors undetected by staff – one of which was an entry and exit to the service – should serve as a warning to all services to continually check their physical boundaries to ensure they are secure at all times.”

Media contact: Steve Worner 0418 918 299

Page reviewed 12 September 2022