‘What we’d hoped for’: Ex-employees relieved by verdict
FORMER employees who reported concerns children weren't being protected from harm at a Casino childcare have been left feeling vindicated by the court's decision to convict the childcare operator.
The operator of Rainbow Station Early Education in Casino, LPN Childcare Pty Ltd ATF Liesl Pyke-Nott Family Trust, was found guilty this week of not protecting children from harm or hazard and failing to notify the regulatory authority about complaints raised.
The childcare's director Liesl Pyke-Nott, 46, was also found guilty of giving false information in an interview, where she was questioned about the employment record of one of her staff members, and two counts of liability when body corporate contravenes.
The operator and Pyke-Nott were both criminally convicted.
The court fined the company $7000 and Ms Pyke-Nott was also ordered to pay $3000.
A former Rainbow Station staff member, who asked to remain anonymous as she still works within the industry and gave evidence during the hearing, said outside of court she was relieved with the Magistrate's verdict.
"We're satisfied with the result and I think for us I think he's said what we knew was true," she said.
"He was able to ... find the truth which is what ultimately our goal was as well and what we'd hoped for."
The early childhood educator said in the lead up to the hearing, herself and other former employees who had raised their concerns about the centre and Pyke-Nott's actions felt they were being targeted as "disgruntled employees".
"The judge could see (the complaints) ... should have been reported and followed further," she said.
She said she hoped the verdict would encourage the NSW Department of Education to be more critical of who it authorises a licence to operate a childcare centre in the future.
"Especially for long day care centres … it's certainly detrimental to the early education field," she said.
'I just hope the department will certainly be following through on providers and cutting down on who can have ownership of centres and ensure the best quality education and care is given to all children out there, especially in rural services and towns where there aren't very many services and it is limited."