Family day care to close after 'dishonest' educator caught

A FAMILY day care provider which offered services across the Northern Rivers will close in the coming weeks, after an educator was found to be acting "dishonestly or inappropriately”.

The educator, who worked with Multitask Family Day Care, was deregistered after submitting a time-sheet for childcare services while they were out of the country.

Multitask chief executive Jody Cheetham confirmed the incident, and said it was impossible to control the risk of fraudulent claims.

She said they had no option but to close the service.

However Ms Cheetham said the vast majority of educators registered with Multitask had provided services in good conscience and in line with the new rules.

"The Department of Education and Training cross-checked our childcare attendance data against other government data bases such as immigration,” she said.

"Disappointingly, we were informed an educator registered with our scheme had submitted time-sheets claiming for childcare services provided in Australia whilst they were overseas.”

Ms Cheetham said the organisation's educators were not employees, but rather autonomous businesses who operated their child care services from their own premises and were provided with administrative support.

"Unfortunately, a very small percentage of educators registered with Multitask Family Day Care have not always conducted their business operations in the same way,” she said.

"While we are able to deregister educators found to be acting dishonestly or inappropriately, ultimately we are unable to sufficiently control the risk of fraudulent claims.

"Despite a rigorous quality management system we have been unable to prevent, in all circumstances, a minority of educators doing the wrong thing.”

Ms Cheetham said when Multitask was made aware of the issue, they immediately deregistered the educator involved.

"As a result of this incident, we were given a limit on the maximum number of educators we could support,” she said.

"Unfortunately with the reduction of educator numbers, our family day care scheme is no longer financially sustainable.”

"This is not a decision the board and myself have made lightly, however the refocus on disability services will strengthen Multitask as we focus on our core values and long standing organisational objectives of supporting people with disability,” she said.

"We do not anticipate any disruption to child care as educators have been given sufficient notice and will be able to transfer to other providers (and) we would like to thank the educators and staff for their excellent services and support over the years.”

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