In the first instance, if a parent/guardian is experiencing an issue with a service provider, my Department encourages both the parent/guardian and the service provider to seek to resolve the issue between themselves using the service provider's complaint policy. The local City/County Childcare Committee may also provide assistance to both the parent/guardian and the service provider in order to resolve the issue.
All early learning and care and school-age childcare services (including those childminders who are subject to regulation) must be registered with the Tusla Early Years Inspectorate, and the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 require services to submit to Tusla - as part of the registration process - a copy of their complaints policy. The registered provider must specify the procedure to be followed in making a complaint to the provider, the manner in which the complaint will be dealt with, and the procedures for keeping the complainant informed of the manner in which the complaint is being dealt with.
If the complaint is in relation to a breach of the DCYA childcare funding rules, the parent/guardian should contact their local City/County Childcare Committee or Pobal, who will escalate the issue to my Department if the issue cannot be resolved.
If there is a concern that a child may have been, or is currently at risk of harm or neglect, Tusla should be contacted immediately.
If anyone has cause for concern that a child is at immediate risk they should contact An Garda Síochána immediately.
With the exception of cases of risk of harm or neglect to a child, the Tusla Early Years Inspectorate does not investigate individual complaints about the operations of an early learning and care or school-age childcare setting. However, Tusla welcomes information about services, and reviews and assesses all such information that it receives. Tusla may then use unsolicited information that it receives in this way to inform its decisions about the timing and focus of inspections of services that it carries out. Further information on the Tusla unsolicited information procedure can be found on the Tusla website (https://www.tusla.ie/services/preschool-services/where-to-get-advice-if-i-have-a-difficulty-or-a-complaint-about-a-service/ ’).