I’ve known about this incident for a few days now. At first mention it left a sickly feeling inside. Three children were apparently hospitalised after ingesting adult medication at a childcare centre in our city’s south last Thursday (23 July 2015).
Yes, three kids, ages unknown, allegedly downed a number of sleeping pills and were taken to hospital.
Surely this was a mistake. No childcare centre correctly following strict ACT regulations would allow this kind of thing to happen to children in their care? However, judging by a commentary on social media, and a report elsewhere today, this did indeed happen.
So, your concerned reporter, with two kids of his own, followed leads and analysed the commentary. It lead directly to a childcare facility with a somewhat tainted reputation judging by what has been outlined by many parents.
A call was made to this centre, and a solemn “no comment” was given. Seeking clarification or at least even an admission that it was indeed the facility at the heart of the allegations, the response “we have been told not to make any comment” rang through loud and clear.
Where have we heard this kind of thing before?
OK, so I agree investigations need to happen. The ACT Education and Training Directorate, the regulator, has confirmed it is working with the centre to look into the incident.
Just like the “cage” incident. And we all know that report and investigation is still outstanding after four months. Four months! Parents who have children with special needs in this city deserve so much better.
It is all about accountability.
The fact is, ambulance officers were called to a childcare facility and three children were treated in hospital after ingesting pills of some kind. The centre was closed down for a day or so but has now re-opened.
It’s not as if there is “nothing to see here”.
And until the centre itself confirms, or the government department actually holds a funny little thing called a press conference, we will continue to drift along with an air of apparent indifference.
Well, I won’t be.
I’m afraid parents, taxpayers and everyone else here in the ACT deserve much much more.
Earlier today, a parent of one of the children hospitalised as a result of the incident contacted me. She said she was disappointed by the childcare centre’s response.
“As one of the parents of the children hospitalised over the incident at Conder Early Learning Centre, as much as I want to make comment we have been advised the AFP will be handling things,” she said.
The parent went on to say that both she and the other mother involved were extremely disappointed by the way the centre has handled the matter and its lack of comment on the incident.
“Thursday could have ended so much differently than it did but we are so thankful that we had the outcome that we did.”
“Our boys should never have been in that situation, we should have been contacted well before we did and the calls should have come from the director or head teacher, not from other staff members in the centre. And an ambulance should have been called well before one was requested twice”.
Marcus Paul is the host of Canberra Live 3pm weekdays on 2CC.