Thornlie family day care operator fined after two-year-old left alone in home

Stock image.
Stock image.

A THORNLIE family day care operator has been fined $3000 after a two-year-old boy was left alone in her home while she attended a physio appointment.

A ruling published on the Department of Local Government and Communities website on September 28 said Afshan Farooq “left a two-year-old locked in the residence while attending a medical appointment”.

According to a statement signed by Ms Farooq on the State Administrative Tribunal’s (SAT) website, about 3.54pm on December 13, 2017, she left two children enrolled in her family day care – a two-year-old and a three-year-old – with her husband and eight-year-old son.

Ms Farooq’s husband was not an approved family day care educator, but has since been approved as a family day care educator assistant.

At 4.17pm the husband left the two-year-old at the residence alone and unsupervised while he took the three-year-old home.

Ms Farooq’s husband was under the impression she had taken the two-year-old to the physio appointment, and had not realised he was actually asleep in another room.

About 4.20pm, the two-year-old’s mother arrived at the home to collect her child.

She could hear him crying but could not access the property to collect him.

Ms Farooq’s husband returned to the property at about 4.26pm, while Ms Farooq arrived home at 4.43pm.

The ruling also stated Ms Farooq contravened regulations by “failing to ensure attendance records were accurate”.

Jacqui Herring, acting assistant director general of commissioning and sector engagement at the Department of Communities, said the child was left alone for about nine minutes.

“If a service is found to be non-compliant with the legislation, a risk assessment will be undertaken to determine whether the non-compliance exposed a child to serious risk of harm,” Ms Herring said.

“In this case, the Department of Communities’ Education and Care Regulatory Unit’s investigations found the child had been left alone and unsupervised in a private home operating as a family day care, for approximately nine minutes.”

The matter went to mediation on May 3 this year.

The SAT ordered Ms Farooq pay a penalty of $3000 for the breach, a further $200 for failing to ensure attendance records were accurate and $1000 towards the Department’s legal costs.