EDITORIAL: Red tape saves lives

Recently, the Australian Senate Select Committee on Red Tape published its report on the “Effect of red tape on child care”. The Committee is headed by Senator David Leyonhjelm. The Report calls for the wholesale dismantling of the regulatory system that has been in place in Australia since 2012.

Campaigns within (and without) the sector to roll back National Quality Framework requirements in the interests of greater profits have been run before, and will be run again.

They have failed before, and we can only hope they will continue to do so.

At The Framework, we will not dignify this Report, and the comments from some sector providers within it, by analysing it any further.

The National Quality Framework ensures children are safe and learning. Full stop.

This editorial will not say any more about this absurd push, but will now turn the rest of this article over to quotes from media articles where children have died, or been harmed, in the kind of under-regulated systems that many would see Australia take on.

We recommend those who advocate for no or minimal regulations read them carefully.

Statistics on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) are also revealing. ChildCare Aware of America, an advocacy group, calculated that, proportionally, about 9 percent of all reported SIDS deaths should take place in child care. The actual number is twice that. And while overall SIDS fatalities declined after a nationwide education campaign, the death rate in child care held steady.

All too often, it takes an incident to force a closure. Last November, for instance, DFPS closed a center after a caregiver left a nine-month-old infant alone on a changing table without a belt. The baby fell onto a concrete floor, sustaining a serious skull injury. In addition to the caregiver, DFPS cited the director for failing to “contact the parents the next day when a ‘mushy’ bump was observed on the infant’s head.” I asked McGinnis how many of the area’s providers she’d trust with her own child. She answered promptly: “Twenty percent.”

The Hell of American Day Care, New Republic

From 2007 through 2010, at least 45 children – most of them infants – died in child care for reasons other than existing illnesses. The investigation further found a systematic failure in Missouri to prevent the deaths, rooted in some of the weakest child care regulations in the country. Missouri’s child care oversight is so inadequate that state regulators lack the information and the authority to address the problem.

Children die as dangers are ignored, St. Louis Post Dispatch

America has grown accustomed to 20/20-style stories of child neglect, abuse, and even death in seedy daycare centers in lower-income neighborhoods. But this happened in SoHo, a trendy and upscale part of New York City, in a loft filled with art and organic snacks, to yuppie parents. The story was a sad reminder that daycare tragedies aren’t confined to America’s lower-income families.

The Problem with Home Daycare, Institute for Family Studies

In a study of 1,916 SIDS cases in 11 states, researchers found that about 20 percent, 391 deaths, occurred in daycare settings. Sixty percent of the daycare deaths occurred in home daycare, which tend to be unlicensed and run by older women with less access to pediatricians and others who promote SIDS risk reduction efforts, said Dr. Rachel Moon, the lead author.

Study: SIDS Deaths in Daycare, CBS News

Shocking video from inside an Omaha, Nebraska, day care center has led to the arrest of 58-year-old woman on charges of child abuse. The disturbing video shows a day care worker sitting across from a little girl at a table, when the worker suddenly gets angry and hits the child on the head a few times.

Day Care Worker Arrested After Disturbing Video Shows Abuse of 4-Year-Old Girl, NBC News

The programme focused on three creches in Dublin and Wicklow, and showed footage of children being flung onto mattresses, manhandled, shouted at and strapped into their chairs sometimes for hours at a time. The HSE inspection report expresses “grave concern” at what it describes as a “culture of light touch regulation at the expense of children’s care” and a “dangerous over-emphasis on the business interests of childcare providers.”

Conduct at Irish crèches called into question on ‘Prime Time’, Irish Examiner

The programme raised serious questions about the weak regulation and inspection regime of creches. Under documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the programme makers found that 75 per cent of pre-schools and creches breached HSE regulations in 2012, but with little, if any, consequence for the organisations. Gardaí are currently investigating complaints about the alleged mistreatment of children in two creches in Dublin.

Anger as RTE Prime Time shows mistreatment of creche children, The Journal

1 comment

  1. Agree entirely Liam, Why would anyone think that was the way forward for early childhood? Surely any organisation can see the merit in having regulations, particularly where infants and young children are concerned.

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