Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal, Alan Farrell, has welcomed details of eight key actions being implemented by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, which will ensure improved standards and more robust inspections for crèches.
“The minds of the public have been focussed on the standards in crèches across the country since last week’s Primetime programme uncovered distressing and entirely unacceptable mistreatment of children in a number of crèches. Minister Fitzgerald has committed to a range of actions to address this issue including stricter regulations, better training, more robust inspections and harsher sanctions.
“It is important to realise that inspections alone are not the answer. What is required is a multi-faceted approach, and since this Government came to office we have been working to ensure issues relating to child protection and welfare are put front and centre. The establishment of a Department of Children and Youth Affairs was recognition of the huge body of work which needs to be done in this area.
“Much of this work is now well underway and I very much welcome the action the Minister for Children is taking to ensure the well-being of children in crèches and the implementation of a pre-school quality reform agenda.
“The 8 key actions which have been identified by the Minister for Children are:
1. Increasing the required qualification standards of childcare staff. All staff will have to have, as a minimum, a childcare qualification to Fetac level 5;
2. All childcare providers must be registered;
3. New national pre-school standards to be implemented;
4. A more robust and consistent inspection system will be introduced;
5. Ensuring action in response to findings of non-compliance;
6. Sanctions will be increased for non-compliant providers, including the possibility of losing State funding;
7. Quality and curricular supports to Aistear and Siolta Frameworks will be improved for childcare providers;
8. Inspection reports will be published online as soon as possible after being completed.
“Many parents entrust their children to the care of a crèche. It is essential that we do everything possible to ensure these children receive quality care from qualified staff in a system undergoing robust inspections which are available publicly to view. There are many excellent crèches in our community and these new actions will ensure that trust in crèche services is enhanced. This will be good for children, good for parents and good for the sector.”