Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Tusla Statement on RTE Investigates ‘Crèches Behind Closed Doors’

RTE’s programme ‘Crèches behind Closed Doors’ (aired on Wednesday, 24th July) relating to standards of childcare in Hyde & Seek chain of crèches in Dublin contained distressing footage which will undoubtedly cause upset and anxiety  for parents/ guardians and the general public.

We recognise and share the serious concerns the programme raises about the quality of care within these crèches, but more importantly the impact of concerning adult behaviours on children.

As the regulator of childcare services Tusla has been proactively addressing areas of non-compliance with regulations in these crèches since 2018.

  • Hyde & Seek Glasnevin was successfully prosecuted by Tusla in 2019 for the operation of an unregistered service (under Section 58 (d) of the Childcare Act, 1991 (as amended). Enforcement activity began in January 2018 when this was first brought to our attention.
  • Hyde & Seek, Shaw Street, was inspected in September 2018, and again in July 2019, and it is subject to on-going enforcement action.
  • Hyde & Seek, Tolka Road, has been subject to a significant level of regulatory enforcement activity and referrals have been made to Tusla’s child protection and welfare services.

Brian Lee, Director of Quality Assurance, Tusla, said: “Every single registered service provider in Ireland has been inspected, and the majority of service providers are compliant with the majority of regulations. In 2018 Tusla carried out 2513 inspections, and reports are available on Tusla’s website.

“However, in a small number of cases enforcement action is necessary and in those instances Tusla can and does take action, up to and including closing the service, and/or taking a criminal prosecution.”

Mr Lee added: “It is the responsibility of the registered provider to ensure they are fully compliant with the regulations. Tusla actively works with service providers all around the country to highlight areas where improvements are necessary and to ultimately improve the standards in services for children. Not all non-compliances mean there is a risk to a child and in the majority of cases the service provider can rectify the issue promptly.”

With regard to child protection and welfare concerns, every childcare worker in an early years’ service has a legal mandate to report these concerns to the relevant social work department. Every organisation and professional also has a professional and ethical responsibility to report their concern.

When information is brought to the agency’s attention in relation to potential harm to a child, Tusla’s child protection and welfare service screens and assesses this in line with Children First. Where there is an immediate and serious risk to a child, Tusla provides an immediate response. All cases of suspected child abuse are reported to An Garda Siochana.

Tusla received information from RTE in July in relation to serious concerns regarding quality of care in these services which triggered further action from the Early Years Inspectorate.

Regarding any child protection or welfare concerns identified in this programme, Tusla contacted RTE to seek any further information that will assist us to take any further action to protect children. RTE has agreed to cooperate and we await receipt of footage and detailed information on specific children, dates and times of incidents. We were afforded the opportunity to view the programme for the first time today. Tusla offers the following advice to parents/guardians:

Tusla understands that many people may need assurance following this broadcast and offers the following advice for parents: 

  • Check if the service provider is registered; click here      
  • Check the last inspection  report; click here  
  • Speak to your provider and seek assurances about the quality of care;
  • If you have a concern about an early years’ service you can contact Tulsa’s Early years’ Inspectorate on 061 461700 or by emailing early.yearsui@tusla.ie
  • Check Tusla’s Quality Regulatory Framework which will help providers and parents to understand the regulations
  • For a Guide to reading and understanding, A Tusla Early Years Inspection Report: click here
  • If you are a parent and have been affected by the Behind Closed Doors programme and wish to speak in confidence with a parent support organisation click here for parent line
  • Further information for parents / guardians is available here
  • Anyone with a child protection concern should contact their local duty social work office. 
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