The Hyde and Seek childcare group are likely to face a number of creche mismanagement compensation claims following the airing of an RTE Investigates documentary that covered the bad treatment of children, emotionally and in relation to safety, along with violations of childcare management legislation. Anne Davy, who owns Hyde & Seek along with her husband Peter and daughter Siobhan, stepped away direct involvement with children for the group prior to the report being aired on Tuesday July 24.
The documentary captures Davy doing the following:
-Laying children on their stomachs to put them to sleep.
-Covering a baby’s eyes despite her hand, despite being pushed away by the child.
-Holding another child down on its stomach to try and get it to go to sleep.
She also offered to show one of the undercover reporters how to do this and was heard to say: “This is a business, it’s not a babysitting [facility].” The Hyde and Seek Childcare group released a statement saying that: “In recent months she (Mrs Davy) has occasionally fallen below the standards of our behavioural management policy”. It added that the way she treated children was “short, rather than simply direct”.
This is not the first time that Ann Davy found herself in breach of childcare legislation. In 2004 she was convicted when her staff left a three-year-old boy on his own at a playground in North Dublin. Following this, in 2007, she was convicted due to inadequate child to adult ratios and failing to maintain adequate records. The company legally changed its name on three occasions during this time.
Tusla has completed 11 inspections at the facilities featured in the documentary since September 2017. However, it was seen that children were being badly treated and fire regulations were still not being adhered to.
Along with this new members of staff including one of the undercover reporters, were permitted start their employment before they were officially Garda vetted. Infants were also left to sleep on bouncers and there was not enough space between the cots to allow child care staff check on the children.
Tusla issued a statement saying: “We recognise and share the serious concerns the programme raises about the quality of care within these crèches, but more importantly the impact of concerning adult behaviours on children.” The body will review the case and apply sanction up to and including criminal prosecutions and removing Hyde & Seek creches from the childcare register.
The Hyde & Seek group released a public statement committing to their efforts to improve their practices. It said: “We know we need to work to rebuild, retain and enhance the trust our parents have in us. We have spoken to many of them in recent days and would urge others with concerns to contact us. We are available to talk to and meet parents at any time. We note that while the programme made criticisms of aspects of our service, it praised our childcare staff whose dedication, professionalism and kindness are central to the care we provide.”
Speaking in relation to the incident, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “I think I speak for everybody in the country when I say that I was really appalled by what we saw on Prime Time in relation to the way that children were treated,” said Mr Varadkar in Donegal tonight. And I know that a lot of parents dropping their kids off to crèche or to preschool this morning must have been that little bit more worried or that little bit more nervous than they would be normally.”
The Hyde and Seek group are likely to be facing many compensation claims from parents children using their services.
If you have been affected by any of the above and would like to talk in confidence please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can freephone 1800 844 104.