Policy in Action 20 February 2024

Policy in Action 20 February 2024
Public Consultation on the Draft Childminding Regulations

In this week’s Policy in Action, Early Childhood Ireland looks at the recently published draft childminding regulations, which are out for public consultation from Thursday, 8 February 2024 until Thursday, 2 May 2024.

The draft regulations have also been published in an easy-to-read summary here.

The Need for Childminding Regulations

It is estimated that there are approximately 13,000 Childminders in Ireland, the vast majority of whom are unregistered. The National Action Plan for Childminding (2021-2028) (NAPC) defines childminding as paid, non-relative home-based care of children from birth to 14. Childminders work in their own home, and they work alone.

Under the National Action Plan for Childminding, First 5 and the Programme for Government, registration with Tusla will be extended to all childminders under new childminding-specific regulations. This consultation provides the first draft of those regulations.

Registration with Tusla is intended to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of children, to promote their development, and to ensure compliance with the new childminding regulations, once they are enacted. The Childminding Regulations cannot come into effect until the enactment of the Child Care (Amendment) Bill, which is still at drafting phase.

The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, expects the Bill to be published and passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas over the summer, thus, enabling Childminders to register with Tusla by autumn 2024.

Overview: The Draft Regulations

The draft childminding-specific regulations cover the following:

1: Part I: Preliminary and General

  • Defines terms used in the regulation document.
  • Links definitions to relevant legislation.
  • Specifies the annual payment amount for childminders to remain on the register.
  • Sets the final payment date.

2: Part II: Registration and Regulation

  • Outlines documentation required for childminders to register with Tusla.

3: Regulation 5:

  • Includes details about Garda Vetting, references, and insurance.
  • Tusla assesses the information to determine registration eligibility.

4: Regulation 6: Register

  • Lists the childminder’s service name, address, and the number and age of children they can care for.
  • This information is publicly available on the Tusla register.

5: Regulation 7: Certificate of Registration

  • Tusla provides childminders with a certificate of registration for inspection purposes.

6: Part III: The Childminder

  • This Part lists the type of training that a childminder must complete to register with Tusla.

7: Part IV: The Childminding Service

  • These regulations will outline the steps that a childminder must take to ensure the health, safety, welfare and development of the child. This includes emergency cover for the childminder, the indoor and outdoor space for the child(ren), and food and drink.
  • A childminding service handbook with all policies and procedures is required.

8: Part V covers Information and record keeping.

9: Part VI covers notifications of incidents and complaints.

10: Part VII covers inspection and enforcement.

  • Tusla’s inspection process will be appropriate for the family home setting.
  • Tusla can apply and enforce the regulations.
Widespread consultation

As part of the consultation process, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth will also host online, or in-person focus groups around the country. Keep an eye on this page for further details.

The Department is also conducting an online survey to hear the views from as many childminders, parents, representative organisations and other interested individuals/bodies as possible. The survey focusses on aspects of the regulations that were not yet determined when the National Actional Plan for Childminding was published. These include:

  • Child safeguarding – vetting
  • Training
  • Maximum number of children
  • Supervision
  • Childminding service handbook

Regulations are good for children, families, and childminders. Have your say before the closing date of Thursday, 2 May 2024.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or would like to know more about Early Childhood Ireland’s policy work, please do not hesitate to contact us at policy@earlychildhoodireland.ie

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