11 Jul 2018

Hundreds of complaints filed over abuse at early childhood services

7:42 pm on 11 July 2018

A government report has detailed verbal and physical abuse that children have suffered at early childhood education services.

Early childhood centre learning. (File pic)

In one reported case of abuse, an infant was shaken at a centre, leaving the educator charged and sentenced. Photo: 123rf

The Ministry of Education received 339 complaints against individual services across the country last year, and nearly half were upheld.

Early childhood services include early childhood centres, home-based services, kindergardens, kōhanga reo, and play centres.

In one case, a child was left with a dislocated shoulder after being roughly handled by a teacher.

The staff member was later dismissed and charged with assault.

In another, an infant was shaken at a centre, leaving the educator charged and sentenced.

Other complaints included isolating children, problems with health and safety policies and poor hygiene levels.

While 42 services had their licence cancelled, suspended or downgraded to a provisional one due to the complaints.

The ministry said the number of complaints it has received about abuse or neglect has increased compared with previous years.

It said this was partly due to tighter requirements around reporting abuse.

The ministry said the number of complaints it received was small compared with the 5527 early learning services there were nationwide and the more than 200,000 children who attend them.

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