Allegedly unsafe conditions and other irregularities in a family day care centre in the Mullumbimby area have prompted concerned parents to contact Echonetdaily.
The Steiner-inspired, in the home, family day care facility has been the subject of complaints from several sets of parents, including specific concerns about a fence held together with rope leaving children vulnerable to a significant drop just outside the fenced area.
‘My husband was dropping our son off at day-care when he noticed that there was a section of the fence that was secured by rope,’ said parent Amelia Carlisle.
‘He was signing him in when he realised our son had already moved the pot plant in front of the fence and was halfway out if it. My husband grabbed him and pulled him back inside. He then re-tied the fence.
‘We sent her [the woman running the day-care] a text to let her know we were not happy and she assured us that the fence would be fixed by the next Monday – but it wasn’t,’ Ms Carlisle said.
When the couple withdrew their child from the facility on safety grounds, the care provider refused the return of their bond.
So they contacted Ballina Byron Family Day Care (BBFDC), the organisation that oversees the in-home day care centre, who informed the provider that she had breached her duty of care and to return the bond.
According to BBFDC the manager then went out to the home day care to assess the fence and had it fixed by a contractor while she was there.
Following this incident there have been other issues around irregularities in the running of the centre that are currently being investigated by BBFDC.
‘I have spoken to the parents who have withdrawn the child,’ manager Sharon Foran told Echonetdaily.
‘Most of the issues were dealt with within an hour of the complaint. I am working openly with the families and the educator and any other issues are under investigation,’ she added.
But BBFDC was unaware of concerns raised about the facility by other parents who had refused to place their children at the centre in January and provided feedback on the safety issues they had with the site.
‘This is something that I will speak to all my staff about,’ Ms Foran said.
In response to inquiries from Echonetdaily the in-home childcare provider in question said ‘there were some issues raised by a family, the communication channels were always open, and all concerns have been fully investigated and completely resolved by the Ballina Byron Family Day Care Coordination Unit.’
Ms Carlisle does not agree that the issues have been resolved and is planning to raise her concerns with the ombudsman.
‘I’m part of a mothers’ group and other mothers have come and talked to me saying they have similar stories with day-care providers in the northern rivers but that they didn’t follow it up,’ said Carlisle.
‘I just want to let other mothers know that they need to do their research about the childcare providers.’