Childcare scheme – simplify Garda vetting

 

Sir, – The proposed scheme to enable frontline workers to benefit from the skills of qualified early years educators is in difficulty due to a number of issues. One of these is the need to ensure that these educators are vetted to work in the new setting of the child’s home.

In Ireland, we use an unwieldy system of requiring a person seeking to work or volunteer with children to undergo individual vetting for each position.

This has led to the frustrating situation whereby one person may need to apply for separate vetting for their daily work in an early childhood education and care setting, volunteering with youth groups, sports clubs, and parent and toddler groups. This has frequently led to considerable delays and occasionally loss of a potential job. Now they need to be vetted yet again for something that will begin in a short while. This is unworkable in its current form.

In other places, such as in Queensland in Australia, they operate a “blue card” system. Each individual applies for their blue card, is thoroughly vetted, renews it regularly, and presents it to each employer or manager, who then has the responsibility to check it is in date, and valid.

This is an ideal opportunity to instigate such a system in Ireland. The early childhood education and care sector has enough issues to resolve. Let this be one less. – Yours, etc,

IMELDA GRAHAM,

Westmeath.