90% say childminders should be vetted

Almost 90% of Irish adults believe childminders should be Garda-vetted and have basic First Aid and other training, according to a new survey.

The Early Childhood Ireland Childcare Barometer 2019 also shows that almost two-thirds of those questioned believe parents should only pay towards childcare in line with their overall income. The 64% in favour of that proposal is up 7% from last year’s first-ever Childcare Barometer.

It also found that 70% of those polled strongly agree that parents should be financially supported to stay at home with their child for the first 12 months of the child’s life, while 74% feel that the education of children under the age of five is just as important as the education of children over that age.

Respondents were also asked whether parental benefit should be paid at the EU Commission’s recommended rate of 66% of weekly earnings, rather than the current rate of benefit (amounting to €240 per week) — 59% of those questioned strongly agree.

One of the main findings is that 87% of those polled believe childminders should be Garda vetted and have a first aid qualification.

Frances Byrne, director of policy and advocacy with Early Childhood Ireland, said this “is testament to the importance of this option for families and shows a clear desire to ensure regulations and supports are extended to all paid childminders — as is envisaged in Government’s First 5 national early years strategy”.

The polling was conducted last month and also found two thirds of Irish adults agree childcare staff who hold a graduate qualification should have this status reflected in the terms and conditions of their employment contract. EU guidelines will require a significant percentage of childcare staff hold such a qualification by 2022.

The Barometer results will be published today.

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