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Regulations are ‘threatening the childminding industry’

June 7th, 2024 8:00 AM

By Southern Star Team

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IRELAND South Fianna Fáil MEP candidate Cynthia Ní Mhurchú fears the Government could inadvertently push childminders out of business when it introduces the upcoming Childminding Regulations 2024.

Ms Ní Mhurchú advised Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman to revisit the concerns of existing childminders before implementing a raft of new regulations around childminding and avoid any ‘exodus’ of childminders from the industry.

‘The stakes are very high. This morning I was speaking to one child minder who has exited the business entirely because she feels that the new regulations will be unworkable and may lead to a crisis for parents of young children across the country who depend on childminders,’ she said.

The National Action Plan for Childminding 2021-2028 sets out a phased approach to the regulation and registration of childminders.

Central to work under the National Action Plan has been the development of new regulations that are specific to childminders.

But Ms Ní Mhurchú said the childminders she spoke to said that the regulations will be too onerous on small scale childminders.

‘One childminder told me that the new regulations will force childminders who have been minding children for 10 years to complete an advanced first responders training course which requires them to take two days off work and costs close to €300. They already have paediatric first aid in many cases. Another told me that the new regulations will require childminders to get fire and theft insurance above and beyond the existing insurances that childminders have in place. This is an extra cost and burden.’

Ms Ní Mhurchú  described some of the proposed regulations as red tape dressed up as child protection. 

‘Regulation 16 requires the childminder to produce a handbook that outlines their policies and procedures. This is completely unnecessary and disproportionate to the work of a person who is minding children in their own home, not running a corporation.

‘The idea is to protect children. We can do this effectively without introducing a raft of new red tape which may have the unintended consequence of driving childminders into the black market or out of business altogether.’

Under the proposed regulations, childminders will have to register with Tusla before 2028.

The rules are expected to be in place before the summer recess.

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