The Early Years sector is currently inspected by the following:
- Tusla Early Years Inspectorate
- Department of Education Early Years Education Focused Inspections
- Pobal Compliance
The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, integration and Youth has responsibility for Regulations and for developing policy in the Early Years sector.
Under the Child Care Act 1991 as amended by the Child and Family Agency Act 2013 the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) is charged with ensuring the health, safety and welfare of pre-school children attending services. Early Years and School Age care providers are required to notify Tusla – the Child and Family Agency that they are providing services. Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate has published a Quality and Regulatory Framework (QRF), to help childcare services to comply with the Regulations. The QRF designed around the quality and safety of the care provided to children.
All published inspection reports can be accessed on https://www.tusla.ie/services/preschool-services/creche-inspection-reports/
Regulations requiring the registration of school-age childcare services came into effect on the 18th February 2019. School age childcare services had not, to that date, been subject to registration and, so, this was a significant step forward in ensuring quality school age childcare for thousands of working families.
National Quality Guidelines for School-Age Childcare Services, launched 24th September 2020
Please see the following online links to the National Quality Guidelines for School-Age Childcare Services and the report on the public consultation –
School Age Childcare (SAC) Comprehensive Regulations and Quality Standards | Report on the Findings of the Public Consultation – https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/a7195-development-of-school-age-childcare-sac-comprehensive-regulations-and-quality-standards-report-on-the-findings-of-the-public-consultation-july-2020/
National Quality Guidelines for School Age Childcare Services | Guidelines, Components and Elements – https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/b66c5-national-quality-guidelines-for-school-age-childcare-services-guidelines-components-and-elements-september-2020/
The Department of Education carries out Early Years Education Focused Inspections(EYEIs) in early learning and care (ELC) services participating in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme. During these inspections, the Department of Education evaluates the quality of the nature, range and appropriateness of the early educational experiences for children participating in the ECCE Programme. Inspection reports are valuable published resources for parents when choosing quality childcare. The inspection reports are published and can be viewed through the Department of Education website.
Pobal on behalf of the Department of Children, Equality,m Disability, Integration and Youth conducts compliance visits with each participating childcare service who operates one or more of the National Childcare Programmes.