A Brisbane mother is outraged that staff at an out of school hours care facility lost her five-year-old son, then offered her a $7 discount by way of apology.
The distressed mother, of WORONGARY, south of Brisbane in Queensland Australia, who requested to remain anonymous said her son was missing for at least one hour after wandering off from the after school care group at the Worongary State School between activities earlier this month.
The prep student had crossed nine roads two of which were M1 ramps and was found about 2km from the school on the busy Nielsens Rd in Carrara by a mother who drove past the boy.
The woman thought it was strange that a young boy still in a school uniform was walking alone down a busy street at 5pm on May 3, so she picked the boy up and called the police.
After the boy's mother searched the school grounds and nearby streets with staff and other mothers, she was called by police.
She said Helping Hands staff did not know the boy was missing when she arrived to pick him up.
''My first thought was, 'How do you not know if a kid has gone to the toilet?'
''There was no one in the toilet. She (worker) said, 'I don't understand he was here five minutes ago'.''
She said no one knew exactly when her son went missing.
''I was starting to feel nauseous at the thought of him being out there on his own,'' she said. ''I was crying and vomited a couple of times through the search.
''My younger son was watching his mother in tears, physically ill, not understanding what was happening or where his brother was.''
After police returned her son, Helping Hands' regional manager rang to apologise and said she would not be billed $7 for childcare that afternoon.
The outraged mother made a formal complaint. She was told the carers were issued a written warning.
She said carers were forgetting the importance of head counts.
Helping Hands operations manager Libby Kerr said they had disciplined a number of staff over the incident and conducted a review of procedures and policies.
''The regulatory authority has also conducted its own investigation and Helping Hands is working with them on finalising this,'' she said.
''We understand the very real concern of the parents involved and are working hard to ensure this incident is not repeated.''
"The prep student had crossed nine roads two of which were M1 ramps and was found about 2km from the school on the busy Nielsens Rd in Carrara by a mother who drove past the boy"
_ KindyNews is a fun and interesting news publication for parents of kids aged seven and under. It is also the place to go for all your eco friendly baby product needs!