Our position is that every child that dies or is injured in ECE, or whose attendance in ECE contributed to their death or hospitalisation, is a child too many.
Following a service receiving its licence it may never be checked by the Ministry of Education for compliance again, and not until there is a change of owner, or there is a serious incident or complaint made against it.
We argue that two changes in practice are urgently needed:
1. The Ministry of Education should be conducting unannounced spot-checks of randomly selected services
2. A system of ensuring that every service has an annual compliance check with health and safety regulations and licensing criteria needs to be developed and implemented.
We identified problems with and have raised national awareness of the ministry failing to stop unsafe ECE and allowing practices undesirable for children to go undetected.
The message we have provided is that the monitoring of early childhood service standards is inadequate and irregular. (Please note that the Ministry of Education is the regulatory body for the ECE sector, not ERO or any other agency. Additionally, WorkSafe may investigate serious incidents and deaths in ECE settings but its focus and area of expertise is on adult work place injuries.)