Daycare centre warned its licence is at risk
Inspectors are to make regular visits to a nursery where three toddlers wandered off in a bid to ensure security improvements are carried out.
Operators of the First Church of God daycare centre in Pembroke were warned its licence could be suspended or revoked if there is a repeat incident.
The Department of Health launched an investigation after the group of two-year-olds were returned to the North Shore preschool by concerned residents, who discovered them playing in what was described as a “construction site”.
The youngsters had been missing for about 15 minutes.
A government spokeswoman said yesterday: “As a part of this investigation the premises has been visited by officials on a number of occasions and the operators of the daycare centre have been interviewed.
“Actions have been taken by the facility to ensure there can be no recurrence of the incident.
“The policies and procedures operational within the centre have been reviewed and modified. Certain structural and operational improvements have already been implemented.”
She added: “In view of the positive action taken by the operator and the previous good record, the department decided to issue a warning letter to the provider explaining that any future recurrence may result in suspension or revocation of the operating licence. This letter was issued on 1st August.
“Environmental health officers will be visiting the centre over the next few months to ensure that the improvements agreed are being implemented.”
The parents of one of the toddlers involved earlier received a letter that said inquiries found the nursery “failed to provide adequate supervision on the morning of July 24, 2018, which resulted in three two-year-olds absconding from the premises for a period of time”.
It added: “The information provided also shows that the school neglected to contact parents in a timely manner regarding the incident and failed to provide them with accurate information regarding how far the children had actually gotten.”
The letter added that a series of recommendations included a health and safety review of the nursery’s policies as well as an investigation into the two teachers responsible for the class.
It said a fence should be fixed “immediately”, a gate in the car park should be “locked or latched at all times” and a mandatory sign-in for all children should be enforced.
The letter added: “Staff to review the policy for parental notification regarding incidents with children. Should no policy exist, the school is to develop one.”
Parents of the toddlers said they feared the youngsters could have been hurt as the nursery is close to the water and it was thought the trio had walked through a car park and crossed a road before they were discovered.
A local resident said she spotted two of the children “in a trench” after she heard their voices from her home and looked out a window to see them in her neighbour’s yard, where building work was under way.
The government spokeswoman yesterday added: “All daycare centres are inspected on an annual basis to ensure that they are in compliance with regulations in order to have their licence renewed.
“If any complaints about daycare centres are received they are fully investigated.
“New guidelines in relation to standards in daycare centres are currently being developed.”
No one was available for comment at the nursery or church when contacted last night.
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