Ottawa daycare shut down over health and safety concerns
Published Monday, June 7, 2010 5:25PM EDT
The provincial government has shut down a Barrhaven daycare over concerns about the "health, safety and welfare of the children who are enrolled there."
Ontario's Ministry of Children and Youth Services posted a four-page notice to parents on the doors of Barrhaven's Little Angels Montessori Academy, located on Cedarview Road.
The letter, dated June 4, cites a list of infractions against the daycare operator:
- children were not provided with sufficient food to meet nutritional requirements;
- the daycare did not plan a program to meet the developmental needs of children;
- children were not directed in an appropriate manner;
- and the daycare did not maintain accurate records.
Officials are investigating accusations the owner only ordered enough food for eight of the 14 toddlers and pre-schoolers in attendance, as well as allegations that a toilet was backed up for weeks near the eating area.
There is now a list of conditions placed on the Little Angels' license, which can be found on the Ministry of Education's website:
- changes to the menu must be posted;
- there must be a checklist for daily playground inspections and cleaning;
- program plans must be available;
- job descriptions must be created for all staff and kept on file;
- and records of fire drills and medication administration must be kept on site at all times.
An Ottawa childcare advocate who works for a non-profit daycare notes that keeping records of medicine given to children is particularly important.
"They could have been double-dosed," said Diane O'Neill, executive director of Aladin Childcare Services.
However, the Little Angels Montessori Academy boasts online that it is committed to high-quality child care.
The organization's Facebook page says the daycare offers toddler and pre-school programming in a "secure and nurturing space", and provides "nutritious catered lunch/daily snacks."
The Facebook page also shows advertisements that note daycare workers are trained in Early Childhood Education, and the facility offers a "curriculum promoting education." Activities include: music, arts and crafts and an outdoor playground.
However, O'Neill says it's difficult to make money when operating a daycare, and parents need to make sure corners aren't being cut in an effort to save money.
"Your return on investment is quite low on the for-profit side, so you cut back on things – you don't buy quite as much equipment; you don't buy the supplies; you cut back on the food; you definitely cut back on staff wages," O'Neill said.
The closure has forced the daycare's owner, Razia Siddiqui, to stay off the property.
Before the daycare can re-open, staff must undergo training for behaviour management and the proper procedures to report child abuse. A plan must also be developed to ensure enough food is provided to children in care.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Catherine Lathem