Fears that abuse at Thames daycare centre happened for six years

  • 07/09/2018

There are fears that abuse at a Thames daycare centre could have been happening for six years.

Sealey Street Childcare has had its license cancelled by the Ministry of Education for serious breaches including "inappropriate child behaviour management strategies".

The centre has been accused of force feeding children, restraining them in back rooms and locking them in cots.

ChildForum early childhood network chief executive Dr Sarah Alexander says families have been let down and she's concerned about the welfare of children who have attended the centre since it opened in 2012.

"Our early childhood sector can do better than this. And we must!" she wrote on ChildForum's website.

Dr Alexander said the Ministry and Education Review Office had let down children and parents "who trusted that such things would never occur at a government licensed and funded service".

She says the Ministry of Education needs to undertake regular, unannounced visits of early childhood centres, otherwise "what goes on behind closed doors tends to stay behind closed doors and is usually not known until there is a tragedy or someone is prepared to come forward".

She said it's not easy to make a complaint and thanked those who spoke up about the centre.

Ministry of Education deputy secretary of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said: "We take all concerns, complaints and allegations of non-compliance seriously."

She said the Ministry's investigation into Sealey Street Childcare identified breaches across the curriculum, premises and facilities, governance, and management and administration criteria, and included inappropriate child behaviour management strategies.

"Due to the serious breaches, we have cancelled Sealey Street Childcare's licence, as of 27 August 2018.

"When we suspended the centre's licence on 27 July 2018, it had a roll of less than 20 children. At this time we offered parents information and support to transition their children to new services in Thames."