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Prosecution for Child Abandonment ?

(6 Posts)
GarethCambs Wed 08-Nov-17 08:46:03

I’m a first-time poster, just trying to canvas your views ahead of meetings with Ofsted, and with my MP.

My daughter was recently left locked up alone in a church hall for two hours :

www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/local-news/child-parent-childcare-cambridgeshire-ofsted-13832021

reports.ofsted.gov.uk/index.php?q=filedownloading/&id=2733255&type=1&refer=0

I’m really struggling with the fact that if you or I as parents/carers were reported for doing the same thing, this would be classed as non-sexual child abuse by the CPS. According to Sentencing Council guidelines, you or I would be liable to anything from a community order to a 26 week prison sentence for a single incident of abandonment. None of this appears to apply to individuals employed in childcare settings.

So the question is, would you be in favour of a change in legislation to extend the laws governing parents & carers to all individuals responsible for the care of a child, regardless of setting. In my view the additional deterrent would prevent this sort of incident happening in future.

I’d very much appreciate hearing all views. Many thanks.

mindutopia Wed 08-Nov-17 10:48:14

I'm so sorry this has happened to you. This exact same thing happened in our village preschool a few years ago (thankfully, mine was too young to have started there yet). The children were taken out on a walk for several hours and a little girl was left behind locked in the village hall.

I don't know what's happened so far in your case, but there Ofsted very swiftly came in and did an inspection and found their procedures were lacking (they had no register of what children were present on any given day, so when they went out for the day, they had no idea if they had them all or were leaving any behind). They were put in sort of a probationary period and given time to sort out their procedures. Ofsted then did another surprise inspection about a month later and found there was still no record of what children were there. They were permanently shut down that day.

I suspect the issues are probably similar in your preschool. Someone wasn't doing their job and keeping a record like they should have been and checking off what children were there and present. It is a serious issue. I think the problem with criminal prosecution might be that it is difficult in some cases to pinpoint the exact person responsible who should be prosecuted. I don't doubt if there is an issue of serious negligence that they should be, but it's always so much clearer when a parent is at fault (because there's only two of you, usually at least one was obviously involved). But in a childcare setting, there could be 15 people there on the day and it gets a bit more murky, especially if there is poor record keeping (then they don't know whose job it is to do what). What are Ofsted doing? I hope they're taking it seriously.

GarethCambs Wed 08-Nov-17 12:13:05

Ofsted has been very good - they are taking steps to cancel the provider’s registration. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help my daughter, who is suffering from panic attacks, and is constantly questioning who’s picking her up, where my wife or I are going, will we be OK, etc..

insancerre Wed 08-Nov-17 13:31:41

Do you think they did it deliberately then?

GarethCambs Wed 08-Nov-17 13:40:30

No, I think they were unprofessional, incompetent and negligent. They deliberately to lied us, other parents and Ofsted about the sequence of events and the amount of time she was left alone. The what-ifs don’t bear thinking about....

nannynick Wed 08-Nov-17 21:24:20

Reading the report, following the incident the provider was found to not be complying with requirements on not just one visit but two. Whilst the incident should never had occurred, given that it did the provider should have taken immediate steps to find out what went wrong and to fix it.

They did not do so, why? Is that a failing of individual staff or of the owner and or management?

The person or committee registered by Ofsted is known as the Registered Person and ultimately they are responsible. So if they would be subject to prosecution then yes that would be reasonable in my view. It was a management failing.

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