The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman has today announced the launch of a public consultation on new regulations governing the childminding sector.

This step marks a key moment in efforts to improve and enhance the quality and assurance of childminding services across Ireland.

The consultation process, starting on 08 January 2024 and running until 02 May 2024, will be an opportunity for childminders and parents see the proposed draft regulations and have the chance to voice their opinions.

People will be able to learn about the regulations and give their feedback through an online survey, webinars and in-person focus groups, ensuring comprehensive feedback from all stakeholders.

This consultation will build on previous consultations with childminders, such as the consultation on the draft National Action Plan for Childminding.

The National Action Plan for Childminding, first introduced in 2021, commits to elevating the status of childminders and enhancing the quality of care and early learning they provide.

The plan, along with the phased introduction of reforms, is designed to ensure a smooth transition for childminders, offering them increased status, access to public funding, and extensive support.

Childminder and parental feedback and insights will play an important role in creating a regulatory framework that not only meets the highest standards of care and early learning but also respects and acknowledges the unique home-setting and critical role childminders play in children’s development.

 

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Speaking about the consultation, Minister O’Gorman said:

The regulation of the childminding sector is not just a policy priority; it’s a commitment to our children’s future.

Childminders are recognised as a cherished part of the lives of many children and families in Ireland.

New structures for childminding will mean better supports for childminders, families and children.

 

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Minister O’Gorman continued:

Since the National Action Plan for Childmindingwas published in 2021, our Department has been working tirelessly to ensure that children continue to be cared for in safe, nurturing environments in a home-setting.

This public consultation is your opportunity to help shape the future of childminding in Ireland.

I urge childminders and parents to join this consultation.

Together, we can ensure that our children continue to grow up in environments that are supportive to their development and learning.

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The introduction of regulations is aimed at offering parents using childminders the assurance of quality childcare and early learning, and to open access to the National Childcare Scheme.

The new regulations will also open financial and quality supports to childminders.

The aim is to open registration to childminders and access the National Childcare Scheme from autumn in 2024.

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Acknowledging the need for a reasonable adjustment period, the draft legislation proposes a transition period of three years.

This period is designed to give childminders the time and space to become compliant with the regulations, allowing them to register without being immediately obligated.

Childminders are supported in the registration with training and practical guidance by the County Childcare Committees, supported by Tusla and Childminding Ireland.

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