The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs launched the Draft Childminding Action Plan on 29th August 2019, for public consultation.
The overall objective of the Draft Action Plan is to improve access to high quality and affordable early learning and care and school-age childcare through childminding. It aims to fulfil commitments in First 5 – the Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families.
Childminding offers many benefits to children and parents, but currently receives little formal recognition by the State. Despite its many advantages and its continued popularity among parents, it has remained largely unfunded, unsupported and unregulated.
The Draft Childminding Action Plan proposes to extend supports and regulation to all paid, non-relative childminders, with a phased approach to reforms, which extends over a 10-year period.
The objectives of the Draft Action Plan are to:
- Give recognition to childminders for the valuable work they do, by making a wide range of supports available to childminders, including training opportunities, participation in local support networks, and access to public funding schemes.
- Support parental choice and children’s preferences, by giving parents who use childminders access to subsidies under the National Childcare Scheme.
- Safeguard children by extending regulation (which may include requirements for Garda vetting, child protection training, first aid, and qualifications/training) to childminders.
- Respect what’s different about childminding by developing new regulations and a new inspection model that are proportionate and appropriate to the home setting in which childminders work, and by ensuring that training and other supports are designed for childminders’ needs and working hours.
The full Draft Childminding Action Plan can be accessed here.