Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Early Years Inspectorate - Childminding Services

Welcome to the childminding section. Here you will find information on the implementation of childminding regulation in Ireland. The information available here will expand and develop over the coming months. If you have questions related to the regulation of childminding, please  check the questions and answers below. We will add to these questions as additional information becomes available.

If you have questions that are not answered here, you can email us at rpdt@tulsa.ie

General Questions

What changes are happening regarding Childminding? 

In 2021, the Government launched the National Action Plan for Childminding 2021 – 2028. An important development in this plan, is the introduction of new regulations specifically developed for childminders who work in their own homes. When the regulations come into place, childminders can apply for registration with Tusla. Once the childminder has been successfully registered, parents of children in these services will be able to apply for childcare funding schemes in the same way that other parents currently can when their children attend centre based early years services.

Why are these changes being made? 

There are two main reasons why the Government is introducing these changes. Firstly, they want the care provided to children in a childminder’s home to be of a high standard, and for parents to be reassured that their children are being safely cared for. Secondly, they want to make sure more parents are supported with childcare costs. Many other countries already regulate childminding services in this way.

When are the changes being introduced?

The Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2024, which is the legislation needed to allow for new childminding regulations, was approved by the Government in June 2024 and the plan is for the regulations to come into effect in September 2024. Once approved, this means that from the end of September 2024, Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate will begin accepting applications for the registration of childminding services.

The new legislation will set out all the details of how childminders will be regulated and will include information on how many children a childminder can care for and what policies and other documents a childminder will need to have. There will be new guidance documents for parents and childminders which will be easy to access and read, and there will be support and training provided to childminders by local City and County Childcare committee.

What is a Childminder / Childminding service? 

A childminder looks after other people’s children for at least 2 hours per day, in the childminder’s own home. This definition does not include those who only look after their relative’s children and does not apply to people who care for children in the children’s own home (including nannies and au pairs). Childminders work by themselves and do not employ any other people to assist them with the children they are caring for.

What is Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate doing now to prepare for the childminding regulations?

In the Early Years Inspectorate, we are getting ready for the Government’s childminding regulations and putting in place a suitable system to help us regulate childminding across Ireland. We are working to make sure that we are ready to accept registration applications from childminders from late September.

What are the benefits of regulation for children and families?

Regulations will help to make sure children are safer and are being well cared for, which also provides assurance to parents. Once a childminder is registered, parents can apply for funding so their childcare costs will be reduced. Parents will also be able to look at the childminding register to see who is childminding in their area, and this will make it easier for parents who are looking for childcare.

Childminder Questions

What are the benefits of regulation for childminders?

Regulations make sure that childminders are valued for their contribution to the childcare sector in Ireland. They will help to support childminders to make sure children in their care are safe and are being well cared for. By registering as a childminder, you will also be able to apply for government funding schemes.

I want to register as a childminder, what can I do now to prepare?

If you are planning to register as a childminder, you will first need to do some training with your local City and County Childcare committee. This training will provide all the information you need to understand what is required under the new regulations and will also explain the registration process.

From the end of September 2024 childminders will be able to apply to the Early Years Inspectorate for registration. Over the coming months we will provide detailed information on this website about the process of registration and inspection.

As soon as registration is open, a link to the Tusla portal will be available on our website. This is where registration applications can be submitted and we will provide comprehensive, user-friendly guidance materials about how to register, the requirements for registration and what you can expect from your initial pre-registration assessment visit.

I am already registered with Tusla as a Childminder under the 2016 Pre-school Regulations. Do I need to re-register in September?

We will be setting out clear guidance for childminders who are currently registered with Tusla under the 2016 Regulations. Please check back here for more information on this in the coming weeks. 

When can I register?

You can apply to register your childminding service from the end of September 2024. However, there is a transitional period of 3 years in place which means that you can submit your complete application for registration at any time up to the autumn of 2027. This transitional arrangement applies to current childminders who, by this date, will be legally obliged to register. It is important for you to know that parents cannot avail of state subsidies (such as the National Childcare Scheme) until you register.

Can I apply for registration before the end of September 2024?  

The previous system for submitting a childminding application closed on July 1st, 2024. A childminder who wishes to apply for registration will have to wait until the new process opens at the end of September 2024.   

How long will registration take? 

It is important that you submit all the required documentation with your application. If you do, then your application will be processed quickly by the Early Years Inspectorate. Once registration opens, we will provide ongoing updates in relation to how long applications are taking for us to process.

Will someone come to my home?

Yes, as part of the registration application process a pre-registration assessment visit will take place. This will involve an Early Years Inspector calling to your home and checking that everything is ready for children to be cared for safely.

These visits to your home will not be the same as inspections that take place in larger settings, such as creches. Our approach to the regulation of childminders in their own home is one of ‘supportive compliance’ which means we will work with you to help you to achieve compliance with the childminding regulations.

Will I be expected to make big changes to my home? 

There is no expectation that you will be asked to make any changes to your home. Your home will be fully respected as such. To ensure your home is safe for children. For example, you may be asked to fix things that are broken, such as a fence in your garden, or to ensure safe storage for cleaning equipment. Most childminders will not have to make any changes as their homes are already safe and suitable for children.

Will I be expected to do lots more paperwork to run my service?

The childminding regulations will require that you keep some paperwork. However, you will be provided with guidance documents and sample templates for any records you need. All the paperwork required will be explained further in the pre-registration training, and you will have access to the support of the Childminding Development Officer in your local City and County Childcare Committee if you have any questions or issues with your paperwork.

I am worried that when I register, I may have to pay more tax, or lose some social welfare payments or a SUSI grant for my own children?

This is an understandable concern, and you should look for advice on this from the relevant agency, your childcare committee, or a tax expert. The Early Years Inspectorate will not be able to advise you about this.

I am currently working as a childminder in my own home; do I need to close my service while I am applying for registration?

No, you can continue to run your service as normal while you are applying for registration. Only childminders who have not yet opened their service will need to wait for their registration application to be approved before they open.

Will I need to close my service during the pre-registration assessment visit?

No. The time of the pre-registration assessment visit will be agreed with you in advance.

Will my pre—registration assessment report be published on the Tusla website?

Once your application for registration is successful, a standard report outlining your compliance with the relevant regulations will be published on the Tusla website.

I have heard that childminders can care for 6 children. I am currently minding more than 6 children; will I need to reduce my numbers to register?

The draft legislation says that as a registered childminder, you will be able to care for 6 children at any one time (including your own children). You can have more than 6 children on your books- they may be coming at separate times and different days, so you will need to plan to make sure that you are not caring for more than 6 at any one time.

What if I want to care for more than 6 children? 

Once the childminding regulations are finalised, we will provide more detailed guidance on your options.

I am living in rental or local authority accommodation- can I still apply to be a childminder?

Yes, you can apply for registration. However, you will need to check the conditions of your rental or tenancy agreement and speak to your landlord. You will also need to ensure that your insurance company has all the necessary information.

I am living in a small apartment with a balcony, can I apply for registration?

Yes, you can apply for registration. If your apartment is very small, the number of children you can mind may be reduced. However, this will be discussed with you, and we will explain the reason why. You will also need to make sure that you assess the risk of the balcony to children and that you are doing regular safety checks so that it is safe for children if you want them to have access to it. All this can be discussed with your inspector at the pre-registration assessment visit.

I have heard I will need to apply for Garda Vetting, when can I apply for this?

You will need to apply for Garda vetting for yourself, your emergency contact person and other people who normally live in your home. Currently, Barnardos and Early Childhood Ireland provide this service free of charge. We will provide more guidance on this once the regulations are finalised.

I lived abroad for a number of years; will I have to apply for police vetting?

Yes. You will need to apply for police vetting for yourself, your emergency contact person and other people who normally live in your home, if you or they have lived outside of Ireland for more than 6 months. We will provide more guidance on this once the regulations are finalised.

Who can I ask to provide me with the references I need to submit with my application?

You are required to submit 2 written references with your application. You can ask current or previous parents of children in your service to write a reference for you, or if you have not yet opened your service, you could ask a former employer or another appropriate person in your community who knows you well to write a reference.

What will registration cost me?

There will be a small fee for registration and then you will need to pay an annual fee to stay on the childminding register. There are no other fees you will need to pay for registration, although there may be charges for some of the pre-registration courses such as First Aid. Your local Childcare Committee can advise you about this.

What if I have other questions about childminding and how to become a childminder? 

Over the coming weeks and months, we will add information on our website. We will build an extensive Question & Answer document and will publish lots of resources to support anyone interested in childminding following the enactment of the new legislation.

If you have any specific questions that are not answered above, you can email us at rpdt@tuslsa.ie 

Parents / Guardians Questions

I am a parent of children in a childminding service, what can I do to prepare for the upcoming changes? 

Keep up to date with the changes in the legislation. Speak to your childminder now and ask them about their plans for registration. Remember they can register at any point over the next 3 years, and they must be registered after 3 years. You can keep up to date with developments by checking the Early Years Inspectorate website regularly and you will also be hearing more about this in the media. If you want to ask us any questions you can email, rpdt@tusla.ie and we will do our best to answer your specific questions.

If you have any specific questions that are not answered above, you can email us at rpdt@tuslsa.ie 

When will I, as a parent, be able to access childcare funding schemes?

Once your childminder is registered with the Early Years Inspectorate, you will be able to apply to access childcare funding schemes and subsidies such as the National Childcare Scheme.  

I am a parent. How can I support my childminder to prepare for registration?

You can direct your childminder to the Early Years Inspectorate website or ask them to contact their local City and County Childcare Committee if they have any questions. You can also offer to write a reference for your childminder as they will require 2 written references as part of their registration application.

I am a parent and I employ someone to come into my home to care for my children. Are they required to register? 

The childminding regulations only apply to childminders caring for children in the childminder’s own home. If you employ a childminder to come into your home every day, or if you have a live-in nanny or au-pair, they are exempt from the childminding regulations, and you do not need to do anything.

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