Thursday 27th December 2018
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, TD, has today signed Regulations which will provide, for the first time in Ireland, for the registration of school age childcare services.
Minister Zappone has signed the Childcare Support Act (Commencement) Order 2018, bringing into force key amendments to the Child Care Act 1991 in relation to the definition of school-age service.
This paves the way for Regulations- which the Minister also signed- on the mandatory registration of school-age services, procedures for registration and on-going requirements for continuing registration.
School age childcare services have not, to date, been subject to registration and, so, this is a significant step forward in ensuring quality school age childcare for thousands of working families.
Once registered, school age childcare services will be able to participate in the forthcoming Affordable Childcare Scheme launching in late 2019.
This means families availing of these services will be able to access the financial benefits provided by the scheme.
On signing the Regulations, Minister Zappone noted:
“We have been working tirelessly to deliver quality, accessible, affordable early learning and care and school age childcare in Ireland. Paramount to this is the ongoing development and improvement of quality provision for children. As such, I am delighted to establish a statutory registration system for school age childcare services; services that provide such a vitally important support to working parents throughout the country.
Parents can be assured that these new Regulations represent an important first step in paving the way for full regulation and inspection of school-age services in the future. They also ensure that parents will now have access to the Affordable Childcare Scheme when it launches next year. This progressive measure will, therefore, improve both the quality and affordability of school age childcare for Irish families over time.”
Only registered school age childcare services will be able to provide services under the Affordable Childcare Scheme. The regulations will come into effect on 18th February 2019 and services will be able to register with Tusla from that date.
Once the registration of school age services has been completed, more comprehensive regulations will be introduced in a move that mirrors the enhanced regulation and inspection of early learning and care settings over recent years.