HIV boy could return to Whangarei childcare centre

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The Whangarei daycare told the mother to not bring her son back after learning of his condition.
The Whangarei daycare told the mother to not bring her son back after learning of his condition.

A four-year-old boy with HIV could return to his Whangarei childcare centre once issues about his medical care are worked out.

Controversy erupted over the boy's alleged expulsion from the centre on Tuesday after parents of other children were told of the boy's condition.

On Wednesday about 20 of the parents met the principal of a primary school where two siblings of the boy are pupils.

Two of the parents made the principal feel ``uneasy'', so he asked the boy's mother to keep the siblings at home until Monday, when a meeting between the centre, parents, health officials, and the Education Ministry will discuss how to resolve the issue.

The boy attends the Mokopuna childcare centre in the Whau Valley School grounds. It is one of three childhood centres operated by the He Puna Marama Trust.

Chief executive Raewyn Tipene said yesterday that the boy had not been excluded, expelled or shut out of the centre.

Aids Foundation comments on the childcare centre in a report on TV3`s Campbell Live on Wednesday were unwarranted, sensationalised, misleading and one-sided, she said.

``Many of the facts stated by the Aids Foundation were not true and did not reflect the discussions we have had with the family or the foundation.''

Ms Tipene earlier told the Advocate the trust had offered to create a care plan for the boy, but it had been hijacked by people wanting to publicise HIV.

She said the trust had found out about the boy's condition last week. His parents had been asked to keep him at home until the plan was completed.

Parents of other children at the centre were told about the HIV infection on Tuesday when it learned TV3 would be reporting on the issue.

``The proceedings over the past week and a bit have been to ensure the health and safety of all the families and staff connected to the centre,'' Ms Tipene said.

Mokopuna centre parent Hailey Cordes knew the boy was HIV positive and said other parents of centre children would have been compassionate if they had known.

Ms Cordes was yesterday painting a sign on the fence of her home, opposite the entrance to the Mokopuna centre, which the boy has been attending for four months with her 4-year-old daughter Tegan Paki.

The sign supports the centre because Ms Cordes is angry the boy's mother did not disclose her son's medical condition to centre administrators.

She had met the boy's family. ``His mother told me she had told them about his HIV. I've had the boy playing in my home playing with my kids and I wasn't worried because I thought the childcare centre knew about his condition.''

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