Horror toll at hazardous childcare centres
NSWs childcare centres have topped the national shame file, recording the largest number of breaches of safety standards.
Children locked in cupboards as punishment, staff unaware that children have simply walked out the front door and children's arms and legs bound with bed sheets are just some of the events for which childcare workers faced criminal penalties during the last financial year.
NSW had a total of 7773 breaches in the 2018-19 financial year, according to a Productivity Commission report on early childhood education.
Centre-based daycare services recorded the highest number of breaches with 5147 incidents last financial year followed by after school care with 1452 breaches.
Confirmed breaches occur when the Education Department considers that a provider fails to follow conditions of their licence, regulations or state and federal laws.
The total number of "serious incidents" where a child suffered serious injury or trauma requiring medical attention grew from 5416 to 5749 in the previous 12 months.
That included two children in NSW who died while at a childcare, 383 incidents where a child was either locked in or out, was "taken away" or unaccounted for, and 471 incidents requiring the attention of emergency services.
Serious breaches published separately on the NSW Department of Education website included the City of Sydney's Ultimo Children's Program which was fined $10,000 in July last year after a nine-year-old child with Down syndrome was able to simply walk out the front door to wander the streets.
After school care worker Katie Brown at The Island Norwest in Baulkham Hills was given a two-year good behaviour bond in March last year after accidentally locking a child on a bus. In Sydney's southwest, St Andrews Before and After School Care staff member Demi Sita was convicted and fined $500 in June 2018 for locking a child up for not sleeping during nap time.
A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said they had commenced prosecution proceedings in respect to 32 offences that occurred in the latest financial year but defended the high number of breaches saying NSW had more daycares.
"NSW has more total breaches than other jurisdictions because we have the most services," he said.
"The increased number of breaches in OSHC services is consistent with an increase in the number of approved services.''
Originally published as Horror toll at hazardous NSW childcare centres