The latest news and information

Childcare Regulations 2016

May 15, 2016

In May, Minister O’ Reilly, the former Minister of Children and Youth Affairs published the 2016 regulations. These revised regulations will come into effect from June 30th 2016. TUSLA inspections until then will continue to work from the 2006 Pre-school Regulations. The new regulations will be introduced on a phased basis over 2016 and 2017.

TUSLA will be holding a series of briefing meetings on the new Regulations. A staff member of Early Childhood Ireland will be in attendance at each of these meetings and we look forward to seeing you then.

Full details of briefings here >>

The new Regulations consists of nine key areas and seven schedules. The new regulations are presented in nine key areas-

Schedules are placed at the back of the 2016 regulations, they consist of application forms and additional detail to inform Regulation 6, 9, 10, 11 & 30. The schedules include the following –


  • Schedule 1 – Application Fees
  • Schedule 2 – Application Form for Registration of Pre-School Service
  • Schedule 3 – Application Form for Registration of Temporary Pre-School Service
  • Schedule 4 – Form for Notification of Change in Circumstances
  • Schedule 5 – Policies, Procedures and Statements
  • Schedule 6 – Adult: Child Ratios
  • Schedule 7 – Minimum Space Requirements


What changes will take place following the new regulations?


From the 2016 regulations, there are some changes which will affect:

  • Full-Day services (Over 5 Hours),
  • Sessional Services (Under 3.5 Hours),
  • Part time services (over 3.5 hours and less than 5 hours)


We have broken the key changes into specific areas. Some of the key changes which will be in place include.

New services opening after June 30th 2016


  • New early year’s services opening after the 30th of June 2016, are required to make an application three months before the opening of the setting. Some evidence which is required include Garda Vetting, floor plan (indoor & outdoor), references, and policies relating to the service (Regulation 6(3)). The application form can be found in Schedule 2.
  • All new services registering after June 30th 2016, must provide a suitable, safe and secure outdoor area where children can access daily. Where a space is not available, an alternative space must be provided (Regulation 20 (3)).



  • All employees must have a minimum QQI Level 5 in Early Childhood Care and Education by December 2016 (Regulation 9 (4)).
    • The only exception to this where an employee has signed a declaration (grandfathering) on/ or before June 30th to retire from employment before September 2021. Or if they have received a letter from the minister confirming it will not apply to them (Regulation 6(5)).


  • A person trained in first aid for children must be on premises at all times (Regulation 25)



  • Early years services are required to maintain specific records of each child attending including allergies and immunisations. These records should be stored for 2 years from the date the child left the service (Regulation 15 (1))

(a) The name and date of birth of the child;

(b) The date on which the child first attended the service;

(c) The date on which the child ceased to attend the service;

(d) the name and address of a parent or guardian of the child and a telephone number where that parent or guardian or a relative or friend of the child can be contacted during the hours of operation of the service;

(e) Authorisation for the collection of the child; 16 [221]

(f) Details of any illness, disability, allergy or special need of the child, together with all the information relevant to the provision of special care or attention;

(g) The name and telephone number of the child’s registered medical practitioner;

(h) Record of immunisations, if any, received by the child;

(i) Written parental consent for appropriate medical treatment of the child in the event of an emergency.


  • All early years services must have a Health & Safety Statement as outlined by the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act, 2005.


Policies and Procedures

  • A copy of the 2016 regulations must be kept on premises at all times (Regulation 18)
  • There are 21 mandatory policies all services must have in place – see schedule 5 for full list (Regulation 10).
  • A policy must be developed on how disclosures are managed if they come back on Garda Vetting forms.
  • All early years services must develop a risk assessments policy to show how they risk assess elements of their service.
  • Yearly reviews must be carried out by full day and sessional services on the quality and safety of care provided. A record of this must be stored for 3 years (Regulation 14)


Vetting Disclosures

  • Services must carry out a vetting disclosure (formerly Garda Vetting) and reference check on all employees, contractors and unpaid workers (Volunteers/ Students). This must happen before any person has been appointed (Regulation 9 (2 & 3)).
  • For employees who have “lived outside the jurisdiction for six months” police vetting from the country or countries must be sought.
  • Garda vetting must be retained for 5 years from the date of employment (Regulation 16 (2)).


Management and Staff


  • A clear management structure must be documented. All services are required to have a designated person in charge and/ or a named person in charge on premises at all times (Regulation 9 (1) (a)).
  • Induction training is mandatory for all employees, unpaid workers and contractors (Regulation 9 (7))
  • Full day care settings must have 2 adults on premises at all

Sessional services where a person operates single handedly must have a second person familiar with the service in a position to provide assistance where necessary. This person must be close by to the service (Regulation 11 (8)


  • A complaints policy must be established within all Early Childhood Care and Education services. It must include the procedure, how complaints are handled, and how to keep the complaint informed of updates.
    • In doing so, the provider must keep a written record of the complainant, and follow the policy when dealing with the complaint.
    • These records should be maintained for 2 years (Regulation 32)


Storing of records

  • Under Regulation 16, the following must be stored for 2 years; details of:
    • details of attendance by each pre-school child on a daily basis;
    • details of staff rosters on a daily basis;
    • details of any medication administered to a pre-school child attending the service with signed parental consent;
    • details of any accident, injury or incident involving a pre-school child attending the service



  • Services must provide adequate and suitable, nutritious and varied food and drink (Regulation 22)



  • All services, including sessional must have spaces for children to rest (Regulation 20 (1))
  • Full day care services and part time services must provide the following clear floor space as outlined below (Regulation 30 (2))




0-1 year

3.5 square metres

1 — 2 years

2.8 square metres

2 — 3 years

2.35 square metres

3 — 6 years

2.3 square metres


  • A registered provider of any ECCE scheme must provide a minimum of 1.8sq meters per child (Regulation 30 (3))
  • A provider who is providing a sessional pre-school service, a full day care service or a part-time day care service, or both, must provide 1.8 sq meters per child (Regulation 30 (3))
  • A maximum of 22 children should be in any one room at one time (Regulation 30 (6))


Logging Visitors

  • All children attending services must be logged in and out when they arrive and leave (Regulation 24 (1)) Where 15 or more children are attending, the service must assign this responsibility to an employee or unpaid worker (Regulation 24 (2))
  • All persons entering an early years setting must be approved by an employee, and each person must sign in & out of the building. This register must be stored for 1 year from the date it has begun (Regulation 24 (3 & 4))


Communication with TUSLA

  • Services are required to notify TUSLA within 3 working days if any of the following occur (Regulation 31)

(a)  The death of a pre-school child while attending the service

(b) The diagnosis of a pre-school child attending the service, an employee, unpaid worker, contractor or other person working in the service as suffering from an infectious disease within the meaning of the Infectious Diseases Regulations 1981 (S.I. No. 390 of 1981);

(c) An incident that occurs in the service and that results in the service being closed for any length of time;

(d) A serious injury to a pre-school child while attending the service that requires immediate medical treatment by a registered medical practitioner whether in a hospital or otherwise;

(e) An incident in respect of which a pre-school child attending the service goes missing while attending the service.


What do I do now?

All registered early years services will receive a Statutory Declaration Form. All services must return the form to TUSLA before June 30th. Failure to do so will lead to the closure of the service, and reapplication under the 2016 regulations.


Early Childhood Ireland will be providing our members with a range of supports nationwide to include online and contact seminars on the implementation of the new regulations. If you have any questions on the new regulations, please contact us on 01 4057100 or contact or

Share share share share
Tags: , , , ,
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine