To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development in the last three years (a) how many complaints has the Ministry received with regard to alleged abuse by staff in Anchor Operator and Partner Operator childcare centres; (b) how many of these complaints have been investigated; and (c) what are the outcomes of these investigations.
1. The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) takes a serious view of child mismanagement in preschools. ECDA will investigate every reported case by conducting unannounced centre visits, interviews and verification of records.
2. For serious cases, such as where there appears to be clear intent to harm the child, the case will be referred to the police for criminal investigation. Depending on the nature of the offence, the perpetrator may be prosecuted under the Children and Young Persons Act (CYPA) or other laws.
3. Over the past three years, there was an average of 15 reported cases of alleged child mismanagement in Anchor Operator and Partner Operator centres annually. Of these, over 60 per cent were unsubstantiated. For the other cases, ECDA had issued warning letters to teachers for acts such as spanking or neglecting of children. These were found to be isolated incidents. ECDA had also issued warning letters to selected centres and shortened their licence tenure for not having adequate measures in place to support teachers' classroom management. In this period, no teachers were convicted of an offence under the CYPA or any other law for child mismanagement.