Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1209)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1209. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of childminders registered with local city or county childcare committees; the number of childminders who have been Garda vetted; the number of childminders in receipt of childminder's tax relief; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13813/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

In accordance with the Child Care Act 1991 (as amended), only childminders who care for seven or more children or who care for 4 or more pre-school children of different families (other than the childminder's own children) are required to register with Tusla. There are currently 101 childminders registered with Tusla. As Garda-vetting is a requirement of registration, these 101 childminders have all been Garda-vetted.

Childminders who are not required to register with Tusla may voluntarily notify their local City or County Childcare Committee (CCC) and avail of supports offered. There are currently 610 childminders voluntarily notified to their CCC.  As part of this process the childminders have agreed to an undertaking that they will engage in the Garda-vetting process.  By voluntarily notifying their CCC, childminders can access information on good practice along with training courses such as the Quality Awareness Programme, First Aid and Children First training in child protection.

In addition, there is a significant number of childminders who are exempt from registration with Tusla and who have chosen not to voluntarily notify their CCC. The number of these childminders who are Garda-vetted is not known.  

While voluntary notification is a condition of claiming the Childcare Services Tax Relief of up to €15,000, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs does not hold data on the number of childminders in receipt of this tax relief, and the Minister for Finance would be best positioned to answer this question.

Officials in my Department are currently considering the report of an expert working group on childminding and in the coming months I intend to publish a Childminding Action Plan, which will include a timeline and actions for wider regulation, support and quality assurance of childminders.