A South Surrey daycare facility that flouted mandatory limits for the number of children on the premises is out of the childcare business.
Fraser Health spokesperson Roy Thorpe-Dorward confirmed the license for the Grandview Heights Family Daycare, located at 16667 24 Ave., was cancelled in October for contraventions of B.C.’s childcare and licensing regulation and the Community Care and Assisted Living Act.
But he said the case was an anomaly in the Fraser Health region, which has more than 1,700 childcare facilities on the books.
In the last two calendar years, only five licenses have been cancelled, including the Grandview Heights daycare, Thorpe-Dorward said.
“It’s very unusual in the community – especially when it comes to cases of over-capacity,” he said.
Recent media reports have focused attention on the daycare, at which inspectors found 24 children one day last September, in spite of a seven-children maximum limit for licensed daycares.
Even non-licensed, non-regulated daycares must follow a limit of two children who are not related to the daycare operator – or three or more if they are siblings related to the daycare operator – or face a requirement to become licensed facilities, Thorpe-Dorward said.
He added vigilance of parents is crucial when there is any question of quality or safety of care.
For example, routine unscheduled inspections of the daycare over the 11 years it was licensed had not turned up problems of operating over-capacity until parents lodged complaints last fall.
Parent complaints are immediately investigated, Thorpe-Dorward said.
“We respond to all complaints, but if there is no complaint there is no involvement,” he said.
“Licensing officers would visit unlicensed daycares to determine if they should be licensed. If that was the case, until they got one, they would be told to stop operations.”
Thorpe-Dorward acknowledged that parents whose children were at the Grandview Heights daycare had some inkling it was operating over-capacity.
“It’s incumbent on parents to be aware and vigilant,” he said.
The Grandview Heights daycare was also faulted for a higher-than-mandated ratio of younger children; for employing helpers that were unqualified and undocumented; and for safety infractions, such as having no record of fire drills or daily attendance records to show how many children were on the premises – vital in case of an emergency.