Larissa, Danielle and Haylie Herron wait for three-year-old Chloe Herron to be returned to them after the father removed her from a local child care centre without permission.
Larissa, Danielle and Haylie Herron wait for three-year-old Chloe Herron to be returned to them after the father removed her from a local child care centre without permission. Max Fleet

Tot snatched by dad from kindy

A NORTH Bundaberg mum is desperate to be reunited with her three-year-old daughter, after her estranged partner took the tot from day care without her consent a week ago.

Last Friday, Danielle Herron’s former partner Jason Lift turned up to Avoca Little Angel’s Preschool and Child Care Centre to collect their daughter, Chloe, despite him not being on the approved list of people to do so.

Mr Lift is then believed to have taken Chloe with him to Darwin, where he works.

Since Chloe was taken, Ms Herron said she had been “up and down” trying to determine the best way to get her daughter back.

There are currently no court orders in place detailing the custody arrangements for Chloe.

“I’m a mess,” she said.

Ms Herron said she and Mr Lift separated more than two years ago and he had only seen Chloe for “10 minutes” since then.

“Why is he doing this to me? I’ve raised her from day dot,” she said.

Ms Herron said she first learnt Chloe had been taken when she received a text message from Mr Lift two hours after Chloe had been removed from the centre.

“Day care is a place to send kids and think they are safe,” Ms Herron said.

Ms Herron said solicitors had advised her it would cost more than $20,000 to retrieve Chloe.

She said she had not been able to contact her daughter since last Friday and attempts to speak with Mr Lift on his mobile phone had been unsuccessful.

Jae Fraser, operations manager of Early Learning Services, Little Angels’ owner and operators, said the man who picked Chloe up produced a birth certificate confirming he was a legal guardian and a driver’s licence confirming his identity.

“The man was also recognised by staff members as the child’s father. Under state law, a team member cannot prevent a parent from collecting his/her child from the centre, unless there is a court order,” Mr Fraser said.

Mr Fraser said the centre had notified the Office of Early Childhood Education, which confirmed the centre had complied with the correct protocols.

The NewsMail asked why Ms Herron had not been alerted that someone other than herself had picked up the child and was told the centre could not comment due to privacy reasons.

Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said child care centres were put in a difficult position when it came to separated parents.

“It is hard on child care centre workers unless they have a written form. They have to see parents as having equal rights,” Mr Dempsey said.



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