Eye on childcare operators after 'abuse'

Eye on childcare operators after 'abuse'

A leg fracture suffered by a three-year-old boy at a childcare centre in Toa Payoh last Friday has been confirmed to have been the result of mishandling by his teacher.

This was told to reporters by the chief executive of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) First Campus, Mr Chan Tee Seng, at a press conference yesterday.

The incident occurred last Friday morning at the Toa Payoh Lorong 4 branch of My First Skool (MFS), the childcare arm of NTUC First Campus Co-operative. Footage of the incident was caught on a closed-circuit-television camera and has gone viral online.

Mr Chan said that the teacher has been placed on suspension and that an investigation is under way. He also shared that the teacher had worked at MFS on a part-time basis since 2009.

Police have confirmed a 51-year-old woman was arrested yesterday in relation to the case.

Mr Chan noted: "When a teacher or staff member acts wrongly and endangers the safety and well-being of the child, then disciplinary actions will be taken, including dismissal."

NTUC First Campus confirmed that other teachers were nearby, but no one saw the incident take place.

Mr Chan said that all MFS centres have been equipped with CCTV cameras since 2011. He said that engagement and training of staff will be stepped up to reinforce the "right conduct, behaviour and good practices".

He said: "We will be writing to all parents to assure them that the welfare and safety of their children are our top priority."

Woman abuses child at Toa Payoh childcare centre
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: Internet screengrabs)

About 10,000 children are enrolled in 101 MFS centres islandwide, which have some 1,500 teachers in their employ.

Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said yesterday that the incident is "a very timely reminder of the heavy responsibility that all of us have" where children are concerned.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event at *Scape, he said: "We are going to investigate this situation thoroughly. The investigation will cover the induction training of the teachers, the staff supervision (and) incident management by the centre.

"We will share the findings with the operators in due course."

Parents My Paper spoke to said that they are fearful that their children may not know how to express themselves properly if they are abused.

"Children may not know the difference between someone who is treating them the right way and someone who isn't," said bank executive Brenda Quek, 35, who has two young children.

Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist in private practice, said that parents should be on the lookout for "a sudden change in behaviour" or "physical signs like multiple or repetitive bruises" as indicators of abuse.

Dr Adrian Wang, a consultant psychiatrist at Gleneagles Medical Centre, said that parents should teach their kids that they can report cases of abuse to adults.


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