Childminding Ireland is delighted for parents that the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) subsidies have been increased in Budget 2023. However, the reality is that the vast majority of parents using childminding services cannot avail of the NCS. Childminders who mind small numbers of children cannot register with Tusla and consequently cannot offer NCS to parents using their services due to current legislative exemptions.
We acknowledge that the National Action Plan for Childminding (NAPC) is in progress to develop new regulations for childminders that will allow childminders to provide access to these subsides. However, it will, and should take considerable time to create and implement a regulatory system that is suitable for childminders. The NAPC is now in phase 1 of a 4 phase plan. If it is to be successful, this monumental change for childminding cannot be rushed.
We understand and support the natural desire to include the parents using childminding services in the NCS as soon as possible. However, there is a danger that the process will be rushed, and childminding will become unsustainable. Long term, this will not be good for parents.
It is therefore, critically important that an interim solution be found, to allow parents of more than 88,000 children access to the NCS financial supports. A solution will be found if there is a desire to look for it. Childminding Ireland members have already self-regulated in a vacuum, membership criteria include:
- Garda Vetting for childminding
- Current Paediatric First Aid training
- Insurance for childminding
- Tusla’s Children First E-Learning Programme
The above represents a third-party verification which should be considered by Government as an interim solution to allow parents to access the NCS. This solution would also allow regulatory change for childminding to be given the time, consideration, and space it must have.
Contact: Lara Hughes Head of Childminding Communications
T: 01 287 84 66