Childminders to face garda vetting and home inspections under new plans

Childminders to face garda vetting and home inspections under new plans

Childminders face garda vetting, fresh training and home inspections but will be helped with grants, upskilling as well as subsidies under plans to regulate the sector.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone announced draft plans this morning but also insisted the government does not want to scare away minders with the proposals.

Less than 100 minders are currently registered with Tusla but there are at least 19,000 minders caring for infants or children in their own homes.

Ms Zappone confirmed that subsidies paid by the state for minders would be at the same level under the national childcare scheme, which could amount to almost €1,000 a year.

Under the plan, childminders will need to be garda approved, to sign up for specific courses and could also be asked to ensure their homes comply with basic standards.

Ms Zappone confirmed grants could help them do this, while they could also train while still minding children.

Initially between 5,000 and 10,000 minders are expected to sign up to regulation, while it is phased in over the next two to three years, explained the minister.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Zappone said: “Childminding is of huge importance to children, to parents, to our economy, and to our society. However, it has not received the support it deserves in our public funding or our system of regulation.

Liz Butler, of Childminding Ireland, said members were cautiously welcome of the move as the department was in "a listening mode" with the sector.

There are some concerns around how regulation may impact on tax requirements and standards for homes, but minders had sought regulation for many years, she told the Irish Examiner.

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