Drug-using childcare worker allowed to stay on the job
A JUNKIE was allowed to care for kids in a Queensland daycare centre, despite an official sanction for placing children at risk.
Queensland's Education Department yesterday refused to identify the childcare worker, who was required to take random drug tests for six months while looking after vulnerable children last year.
The carer agreed to "abstain from using illicit drugs'', in an enforceable undertaking with the Education Department.
Despite concerns over the "safety, health and wellbeing'' of children, the department did not prosecute the drug user, and let the worker continue caring for babies and toddlers.
The childcare worker had to tell the department within 72 hours of switching jobs or moving house. But an Education Queensland spokeswoman yesterday could not say if or where the worker was caring for children.
"The department has been advised the educator is no longer employed at this (original) service,'' she said.
"The department is unable to identify the individual due to confidentiality requirements under national law. The safety and wellbeing of all children is the highest priority for the Department of Education.''
The department also refused to say whether the worker had used drugs at the daycare centre.
It comes as new Productivity Commission data reveals more than 16,000 Australian kids were harmed in daycare last year - with a record 3191 "serious incidents" in Queensland. They include 1437 cases of kids locked in or out of a centre or "unaccounted for", including 322 Queensland children who went missing or were accidentally left behind when a centre closed.
Nationally, 16,185 "serious incidents'' were reported in daycare centres in 2018/19, including 12,810 cases of injuries or illness, such as broken bones, burns, severe asthma attacks or anaphylaxis reactions.
Queensland had a record 3191 serious incidents, including 2356 cases of serious injury or illness, with ambulances called 513 times.
The Productivity Commission will reveal today that Australian childcare operators broke the law 21,082 times last financial year. Queensland recorded 3106 breaches.