Victorian childcare centres shut down and sanctioned over serious safety breaches

| 04.05,21. 01:08 AM |

Victorian childcare centres shut down and sanctioned over serious safety breaches

A three-year-old boy allegedly broke his leg while at a daycare centre. (Nine)

A number of dodgy childcare centres have been shut down and many others sanctioned over concerning safety breaches in Victoria.

In an exclusive report, 9News can reveal some operators are facing serious criminal charges in relation to fraud and failing to protect children from harm and hazards.

The Department of Education has listed 64 family daycare and childcare centres in the state that have been sanctioned for safety breaches and other compliance failures in the years 2020 and 2021.

The mother of one three-year-old said her son broke his leg while he was attending a Bayside childcare centre.
The 39-year-old mum, who does not want to be identified, told 9News when staff at a Bayside childcare centre called her to collect her son last year, he wasn't the same.
"I was terrified to see him," she said.
"Straight away when I saw my son I knew something very wrong had happened."

The child was rushed to hospital, his leg became so swollen. An X-ray revealed he had a fractured femur.

He had to be protected waist-down in a special cast and learn how to walk again after the mysterious injury.

"I was never informed who found him, they gave me back my child like that, say that he woke up from his nap like that," his mother said.

Another mother, Julie Howse, told 9News when she dropped her daughter Grace off at a Bayside childcare centre, she wasn't expecting her to end up in the emergency department.

"It was very distressing to be honest," she said.
Grace, who was three years old at the time, was playing with her friends when she was badly injured.
She tripped over a rug and gashed her chin on a bookshelf, with staff immediately calling Ms Howse.
"They called and they said: 'your daughter has had a little bit of an incident. You might want to pick her up now and take her to the doctor'."
It wasn't until they arrived at the GP when they discovered she needed stitches and was rushed to hospital.
"For me, there was a lack of understanding of the severity of the incident and aftercare," Ms Howse said.
The mother suspects the carers had been run off their feet, and suggested the centre may have been understaffed at the time.
Alarmingly, the family is not alone in their concerns, with two children escaping from another childcare centre in the city's south-west - Werribee West Family Centre - in 2019 after they ran across a busy road.
While a Doncaster couple is facing serious charges accused of registering phantom children at the Prime Family Day Care Centre in Thomastown, allegedly claiming millions of dollars in government payments.
"Centres aren't normally shut down unless there are large breaches or fraud," executive director of Community Childcare Association Julie Price said.
The education department has been forced to shut down 17 childcare providers in the metropolitan Melbourne area since January last year.
From a North Melbourne family day care with unqualified educators to a Glenroy provider which offered children unhealthy snacks and didn't have enough booster seats.
Centres at Fawkner, Truganina, Dandenong and Carrum Downs were also closed.
"The variety of services not meeting the standards is huge," Ms Price said.
This year, three major breaches have already been reported.
One Truganina family day care was issued with a compliance notice for 10 serious breaches including: failure to adequately supervise children and ensure everyone living at the home had working with children checks.
An after school program in Clarinda was slapped with an emergency action notice for not having a qualified educator present for 15 minutes and food wasn't regularly being served.
While Team Holiday in Bentleigh East was prosecuted and fined $5000 after a child escaped from the centre and entered the nearby swimming pool.
The child had to be helped by a member of the public.
The state's peak body said while most centres are working hard to remain compliant, some standalone services are falling behind due to a lack of resources.


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