New crèche inspection standards in place by September - Fitzgerald

New guidelines will emphasise importance of relationships children experience

New standards for crèche inspections will be put in place in September, Frances Fitzgerald said. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

New standards for crèche inspections will be put in place in September, Frances Fitzgerald said. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Thu, Jul 11, 2013, 16:44

New standards for crèche inspections will be put in place in September with an emphasis the importance of the relationships children experience in childcare facilities, the Minister for Children has said.

Francis Fitzgerald made the remarks this morning, a day after the first tranche of HSE crèche inspection reports was published online.

“We are going to change the way the inspections are done, the inspectors themselves want this,” she said.

“We want a greater focus on the quality of relationships the children have in childcare and we’re bringing in new standards in September which will form part of the new guidance document for the inspectors to ensure that happens.

“We have work to do in the early years sector. Publishing the reports is part of that and registering services and making sure we have inspectors all over the country who can go in and make sure the quality is right for children.”

Ms Fitzgerald said the inspection reports, more of which are expected to be published on the Pobal website in days to come, covered inspections over a three-year period.

“All new reports undertaken from July 1st will be published as they are ready in the next few weeks,” she said. “I would encourage providers to make them available to parents and for parents to ask for them. All good providers will want to share the inspection reports.”

The first tranche of HSE crèche inspection reports covering 38 facilities in Co Limerick, which were published yesterday, included instances where a lack of Garda vetting or missing references or CVs for staff members were found by inspectors. Inadequate facilities and staff members raising their voices with children were also among the issues raised.

Although the majority of the 38 crèches were found to be compliant, 16 were not compliant under one or more headings.

The publication of crèche inspection reports followed a Prime Time investigation in May of this year into the alleged mistreatment of young children in three crèches in Dublin and Wicklow.

The first tranche of HSE crèche inspection reports were published on the Pobal website yesterday and reports will continue to be published in days to come.

The online facility allows parents to view at inspection reports for crèches by first choosing the county in which the facility is located and then selecting the relevant childcare facility.

Pobal is hosting the inspection reports on behalf of the HSE. The reports can be accessed at http://maps.pobal.ie/#.