Targeted daycare gets another chance

Consistent inconsistencies shut down a daycare last week, says the territorial government. But constant outcries from parents and steady public…

Consistent inconsistencies shut down a daycare last week, says the territorial government.

But constant outcries from parents and steady public pressure may have bought Curious Buddies Day/Night Care and Pre-School some time to fix its problems.

The daycare centre closed Saturday at 9 p.m., sending 44 children and their parents scrambling to find alternative care.

Now family and children’s services employees are working with Curious Buddies owner and operator Lilian McCuaig and her staff to work on outstanding problems.

At the end of the grace period, McCuaig can reapply for a permanent licence, said Health and Social Services spokesperson Pat Living.

“She can be relicensed if child services feels we’ll no longer see patterns of non-compliance,” said Living.

“If (McCuaig) is able to bring records in order and there’s a sense it can be managed, then it’s a whole new ball game.”

The problem at Curious Buddies was “consistent inconsistencies” in health and safety standards, according to child services.

The daycare centre opened in November 2007.

The inspectors would visit Curious Buddies with their regulation checklists and leave with McCuaig a number of things requiring attention.

At the next visit, those problems would be fixed but others would arise and the process would start again, said Living.

They were consistent inconsistencies, she added.

Documentation, like staff and attendance records, RCMP checks and medical records were incomplete.

Children’s services took the unusual step of closing Curious Buddies, which was run under an interim licence.

It’s the first daycare to be shut down by the government in 10 years.

McCuaig was given a one-week extension before closing so parents could find alternative spots.

Parents were provided with lists of available daycare spots.

The children at Curious Buddies were never in any danger, but the possibility was always there, said Living.

During a fire, an incomplete attendance record could cause staff to overlook a child, she added.

“It’s all speculation, but something could have happened and the department would have shared in the responsibility,” said Living.

The Liberal Party found nine other Yukon daycares in noncompliance with health and safety regulations.

Opposition parties and parents cried foul when they learned Curious Buddies might have unfairly closed while children still attended the other centres.

It’s possible other centres are in non-compliance, but the infractions dating back several years have been fixed, said Living.

What is not seen are the documents stating those problems were fixed within an appropriate time, she added.

Children’s services has been working with Curious Buddies since it opened.

Shepherding a new facility with new staff is not unusual, said Living.

But closing one is abnormal.

“To take this step, we have to feel strongly about the noncompliance issues,” said Living.

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