An approved provider of a Caboolture early childhood education and care service has been fined $36,000 for leaving a three-year-old child locked in a bus for 90 minutes in 2019.
The Queensland Early Childhood Regulatory Authority successfully prosecuted an early childhood education and care service in the Caboolture local magistrate court following investigations into the incident.
The charges related to failing to ensure a child was adequately supervised and failing to ensure every reasonable precaution was taken to protect the child from harm and hazard.
The approved provider pleaded guilty to both charges and was fined $18,000 for each charge. No conviction was recorded.
The court heard it was only by good luck the child was found, with an adult walking into the service spotting the child alone in the locked vehicle and raising the alarm with service staff.
The child was taken to hospital but did not sustain any physical injuries.
During sentencing the Magistrate acknowledged the seriousness of the case and the special position of trust held by the approved provider in dealing with some of society's most vulnerable people, children.
The Magistrate also considered the need to provide significant deterrence to other approved providers, to help ensure that children receiving education and care are adequately supervised and protected in the future.
The prosecution is a timely reminder that the department, as the Queensland Early Childhood Regulatory Authority, will take action against services or educators that place a child at risk.
Actions taken directly relate to the level of risk to children and can range from providing guidance to prosecuting or closing a service.
It is also a reminder to all services to
Look Before You Lock.
All parents have the right to expect their child will be safe in the care of an early childhood service.
Under recent changes to the National Regulations, all early childhood education and care services that transport children must have a specific written transport policy and procedure in place.
It is the approved provider's responsibility to ensure all staff are inducted in the transport policy and procedure and have completed practical training.
Detailed guidance on transporting children safely is on the
Anyone with a concern about the quality of compliance of an early childhood education and care service can
make a complaint to the department.
Look Before You Lock – Every time.