MEC De Lille Releases Findings of Investigation Into Pinelands Partial Care Facility
Social Development Minister Patricia de Lille, has today released the findings of a departmental investigation into the registration status of Aunty Dawn's Day Care (a Partial Care facility) in Pinelands.
"Firstly, we can disclose that the day care centre in question is unregistered," Ms De Lille says.
"The owner applied in January 2008 for the registration of the facility. This application was received by the Department of Social Development, which also sent an acknowledgement letter to the owner."
"However, we were then informed by the applicant that she had fewer than six children in her facility. A person caring for six or more children is required to be registered with the department, according to the Children's Act," says De Lille.
"Even though the applicant had fewer than six children at the time, on the application form she indicated that she wished to register for eighteen to twenty children."
"As a matter of course, the Department therefore requested the Environmental Health Inspector of the City of Cape Town, to provide the Department with a Health Clearance Certificate for the number of children the facility wanted to accommodate," De Lille says.
"What the Department failed to do was follow up on whether the letter it sent to the Environmental Health Officer was actually received. This means that for over two years the situation with this day care centre has remained unchanged."
"The owner has apparently stated that she saw the letter of acknowledgment for her application for registration as a confirmation of registration."
"On Wednesday our social worker, the Environmental Health Practitioner and a representative from the fire department will meet to determine how the facility will be dealt with from here on," says De Lille.
"I have also called an emergency departmental meeting with the Chief Director, Director and Deputy Director responsible, to look at how the Department can fast track the registration of unregistered partial care facilities."
"Another solution would be to make it mandatory for facility owners to place a certified copy of their certificate on their website, or even physically on a wall in their premises."
"We will also work towards publishing a list of all registered facilities and all those that have applied and are still in process."
"I would also like to call on parents to work with us by asking to see the facility's registration certificate before you enrol your child."
"Accidents can happen, whether a place is registered or not. But a parent will have greater peace of mind if a facility is registered, because then at least you know it complies with certain norms and standards," De Lille says.
"It is deeply regrettable that in this case the facility was not registered even though the applicant started the process to apply for registration in 2008."
"Unregistered partial care facility owners must please understand that they are not allowed to operate unless they have a valid registration certificate from the Department of Social Development."
"In the case of Aunty Dawn's Day Care centre the applicant should not have started looking after six and more children without the necessary certificate," says De Lille.
*Ms De Lille will request a private visit with the Ballie family tomorrow.
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