Thursday 20th June 2019
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs this morning launched an Open Policy Debate on the future development of regulations and a quality improvement framework for School Age Childcare in Ireland.
The focus of today’s debate is on development of full regulations and inspection of school age services in the future and how this might look. The Department is undertaking an extensive consultation in line with its commitment in the Action Plan for School Age Childcare.
This is part of a range of measures to engage with stakeholders on this issue. As well as the Open Policy Debate, a public consultation survey and call for submissions are available online on the Department’s website and open until 5th July. The Minister has called on all of those with an interest in School Age Childcare to participate in the online survey or to make a submission on the matter.
To open the discussion there are inputs from a number of speakers on the current and future regulatory context of School Age Childcare Services, draft standards for school age childcare, a children’s consultation on afterschool care and a comparison with other jurisdictions. Participants include school age childcare providers, Tusla – the Child and Family Agency, the community and voluntary sector, representative groups including organisations representing, parents and children’s rights.
The Minister said: “In setting regulations for School Age Childcare, children’s health, safety and wellbeing must come first. Regulation of School Age Childcare is also essential to allow providers to participate in the National Childcare Scheme. Although we have been discussing School Age Childcare for some time in Ireland, we are in the very early stages of actioning the necessary steps. It is vital that we gain the views of key stakeholders in order to find out what, will work best for children, families and for school age childcare providers.”