Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said new childcare laws approved by Cabinet yesterday will strengthen the registration and regulation of pre-school services all over the country.
Likely to be enshrined on Oct 3, the laws will mean that for the first time the country’s 4,600 pre-school facilities will have to be registered, and inspectors will be able to order improvements in childcare facilities.
Failure to comply could mean registration being withdrawn.
Ms Fitzgerald said pre-school services seeking registration will have to meet a wide range of standards, from staff/child ratios to staff vetting, to meeting children’s emotional needs.
Fines for non-compliance are expected to increase fivefold from €1,000 to €5,000.
It’s understood all new crèches will have to meet the standards immediately. Existing facilities will be given up to three years to comply, but crèches in areas deemed to be potentially problematic will be among the first to be inspected.