On Tuesday Tampere city officials announced plans to shutter the private ABC Daycare centre. In 2010 the entrepreneur providing the service was convicted and fined for possession of images portraying child sexual abuse.
Following the conviction, the city struck a deal with the entrepreneur by which he would no longer work alone with groups of children. However a spot check conducted by city officials in December revealed that the man had not acted as agreed and had spent time alone with children.
"Deal should not have been made"
The city of Tampere does not buy services from ABC Daycare, but the law requires it to supervise its operations. Tampere city education and training director Kristiina Järvelä admitted that the city’s supervisory powers had failed in the case of the convicted entrepreneur.
"Making a deal was an error of judgment. At the time the agreement was made, the Regional State Administrative Authority was consulted, but knowing the day-to-day operations of a daycare, the deal was not realistic from the very beginning," she said.
The city’s deal with the owner was written, and outlined his main role as the person responsible for business operations. Järvelä said that officials clearly thought that he would focus exclusively on his role as a manager, while letting trained personnel work with the children.
"The entrepreneur has described receiving children when they are brought to the daycare in the mornings, and taking them to an English club by car. During those times he has always been the only adult in the group," Järvelä explained.
"No indication that the children were in danger has come to our attention," she added.
Motion to permanently shutter daycare
According to the official, the city has conducted annual supervisory visits to the daycare and found its operations to be above board.
However the city is now organising new daycare places for the 23 children formerly cared for by ABC. Parents can accept the places immediately or at a later date.
On Tuesday evening, parents were invited to an info and discussion event. Järvelä said it was no easy task, since the owner of the daycare did not agree to provide the parents’ contact information despite many requests from city officials.
Tampere’s Child and Youth Committee will consider the case at its next meeting on January 24. It will consider a motion to ban the daycare from caring for children from January 31 onwards.
Last autumn Tampere city officials shut down another daycare for shortcomings in the organisation and for chronic failure to ensure the competency of staff employed there.
Yle was unable to reach the owner of ABC Daycare for comment.