Sydney childcare network shut down after baby dies at 'non-compliant' centre

| 12.10,19. 09:54 AM |


Sydney childcare network shut down after baby dies at 'non-compliant' centre

Photo: Neighbours described the death as "disturbing" and "unexpected". (ABC News: Dan Cox)

A Sydney childcare network warned to lift its standards in 2015 has been shut down following the death of a baby boy at one of its facilities.
An ABC investigation found that despite giving the Kidstart Family Day Care (KFDC) centre a low rating in 2015, the NSW Government did not re-audit it before the child died in March this year.
The ABC understands more than 40 centres operated by KFDC were shut down and children relocated following the death of the six-month-old boy at the Randwick facility.
Neighbours described the death — which was the subject of a joint investigation between NSW Police and the Department of Education — as "disturbing" and "unexpected".
The State Coroner is also investigating the circumstances surrounding the death.
The education department has told the ABC the centre was "immediately suspended from operating and then shut down".
They also said the educator who was providing care at the time was issued a prohibition order.
The KFDC network employed dozens of early childhood educators in Sydney.
The 2015 regulator's report showed the network fell short in six out of seven critical benchmarks.
Federal Government records show KFDC's approval to provide childcare was suspended a week after the death because of "non-compliance".
Despite issuing notifications for improvements to KFDC, authorities never reassessed any of its centres.
Authorities are yet to determine the cause of death, which the education department said remained under investigation.
"This tragedy is heartbreaking for the child's parents, family and their friends," a department spokesperson said.
"Department staff continue to provide support to the family and are regularly updating them on the progress of the investigation."
The ABC understands 40 centres in the KFDC network were closed after the death and some children in care were relocated to other providers.
A source close to the investigation that was carried out by NSW Police and the Department of Education earlier this year told the ABC the operator's book-keeping standards were examined by authorities.
Specifically, the investigation probed whether all 180 children registered for Federal Government subsidies by KFDC were in regular care.
The operator was at the time receiving Federal Government money through the Commonwealth Childcare Subsidy Scheme (CCSS).
The investigation found several addresses registered as operating day care centres had no children attending.
KFDC did not respond to requests for comment.
The ABC has filed a freedom of information request about the incident and other deaths in NSW childcare centres, which has been rejected by the education department.
The ABC is now appealing that decision.
It can be revealed childcare regulators had assessed KFDC and gave them the second-lowest rating, out-of-five, for standard of education and care in 2015.
The 2015 inspection results published by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) show KFDC received instructions to lift its standards including in "physical environment" and "children's health and safety".
The second-lowest rating, according to ACECQA, means the "services provides a safe education and care program" but had "areas identified for improvement".
According to recommendations cited in a 2016 auditor general's report, any service with Kidstart's rating is "to be reassessed within 12 months".
The education department spokesperson said the ratings were "not a pass or fail system".
It said there were no "legislative requirements" to reassess services with KFDC's rating within a year.
"But the Department works with a range of other regulatory authorities and the Commonwealth Government to shut down unscrupulous operators in this sector," a spokesperson said.
Data seen by the ABC shows the Bankstown operator went over 1,330 days without an assessment prior to its licence being suspended the week of the infant's death.
Shadow minister for Early Childhood Learning Jodie Harrison said she was worried NSW childcare centres were not meeting national guidelines.
"Services are simply going too long between assessments," she said.
"Families want to know that the service they send their child to is a safe place, where their child can receive quality early education and quality care."
The length of time to re-assess KFDC is not an anomaly.
The ABC has identified almost 4,000 NSW childcare services with the same rating as KFDC which have gone over one year without a reassessment.
A Mount Druitt day care went almost seven years without a reassessment for extensive compliance issues before it had its provider approval cancelled by the Education Department last October.


abc


(Votes: 0)

Other News

Otto Rosebery: Owners of Sydney apartments constructed by Opal Tower builders warned of potential safety flaws NBN Co slammed with formal warning for favouring some internet providers Higher power bills caused by 'chaotic' government interventions, report says Queensland police shoot man in Bowen station incident NSW bushfires that destroyed dozens of homes may have been deliberately lit, authorities say 5yo child run over on Townsville footpath while riding bike with his father Paramedic bashed on charity bike ride says he doesn't want teenage attackers charged Severe fire danger for several NSW regions Medical warning after engineer suffers first degree burns from high-vis shirt Australian couple released from Iran detention, Jolie King and Mark Firkin back in Australia in 'good health' Neighbour's dog attacks girl, 6, in Sydney's west Mobile phone hacking scam, the simple sign you need to look out for Takata airbag warning upgraded to 'critical' for 20,000 vehicles CBA faces criminal charges over CommInsure scandal WA Police charge man over ATM card skimming after $100,000 scammed from bank accounts Malka Leifer released from custody on bail in Israel over historical child sex abuse charges Government investigating bulk-billing National Home Doctor Service over Medicare billing ANZ and Westpac are the latest banks to defy Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and pass on less than full cut Shooting by masked gunman leaves police mystified, video of incident released Government's drug testing plan slammed by medical experts, compared to mooted Kremlin HIV strategy Police shoot dead armed man in western Sydney after shots fired at officers Motorists involved in fuel drive-offs can expect a text from police Alleged Adelaide Oval brawlers involved in altercation outside court ?Crime Stoppers :CAN YOU HELP IN IDENTIFYING THIS PERSON . Christian Porter's press freedom 'safeguard' raises fears over reporters' independence Councils threaten to sue Fines Victoria for 'catastrophic' impact of unrecovered debts Man shot by police in Melbourne after chase in stolen tow truck New PBS listings will give more than 500,000 Australians cheaper medicines 'Liar loans' surge to record highs, despite mortgage lending crackdown: UBS report JOINT STATEMENT BY CHRISTIAN AND MUSLIM LEADERS