An organisation representing 22,500 professionals is being launched today, following controversy in recent weeks over the standards of care in Irish crèches.
The Association of Childhood Professionals is calling for the establishment of a qualification and registration system for all early years practitioners, after breaches of care standards were highlighted by a 'Prime Time Investigates' programme last week.
The ACP has been in development for a number of years, but will today outline its views on training, standards and support in the sector in light of the issues raised by the programme.
Chairperson Marian Quinn said that the inspection process needs to be dramatically overhauled so it gives a clearer picture of how the childcare sector is being run and what can be done to improve standards.
"It's a snapshot," she said. "You're not going to get a clear picture of the quality relationships, you'll get a picture of the paperwork that's done, but you're not necessarily going to get a picture of the quality relationships, and the educational development and the holistic development of the child if it's just that snapshot.
"So it needs to be something more comprehensive than that.
"It needs to be something that's in place and that people are coming in on a quite regular basis, in a supportive manner, to build their quality."