Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs, Anne Rabbitte TD, has raised serious concerns over the number of crèches who have yet to apply for re-registration with Tusla.
It has emerged during Oral Questions with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone that there are 230 crèches yet to submit their re-registration applications to Tusla ahead of Thursday’s deadline. This equates to 6% of crèches. Failure to re-register means that Tusla cannot guarantee a service will be allowed to operate from 1st January 2020.
Deputy Rabbitte commented:
With a little over 24 hours until the deadline passes, we’re now facing into a situation whereby hundreds of crèches may have to close because they will be operating without registration, which is illegal. As bad as the crisis in childcare is, it could be about to get a lot worse. This sector is already stretched to breaking point – I am fearful that we may now be on the verge of it being completely overwhelmed.
Deputy Rabbitte continued:
Come Friday morning, we could be in a situation where several hundred parents are left with no option but to find a new crèche for their most precious after Christmas. There’s already a serious capacity crisis, particularly in urban areas, so to now be facing into the potential loss of 230 crèches will cause deep anxiety among parents. I would plead with those remaining crèches to submit their applications as it seems clear that the Government has no Plan B if this deadline is missed. Several problems have emerged with Tusla’s re-registration process, particularly in relation to fire certification and planning issues. Tusla has already extended the deadline to June 2020 for crèches to provide this information, but it now seems that crèches may be left with massive bills to fulfil the requirements, as well as increased insurance costs, with many seemingly considering whether it’s worth continuing to provide childcare services.
Deputy Rabbitte concluded:
If the Government continues to introduce additional and more onerous regulations on childcare providers, while at the same time doing absolutely nothing to develop or encourage additional capacity, the acute crisis that we are already seeing in parts of Dublin is going to become a national crisis.