Early Years’ Services Regulations 2016

 

 The Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years’ Services) Regulations 2016

It is the duty of every person carrying on a preschool service to take all reasonable measures to safeguard the Health, Safety and Welfare of the children attending the service and to comply with the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 and the Child Care Regulations (The Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services)(Amendments) Regulations 2016.

The Child and Family Agency has a statutory responsibility to assess levels of compliance with the Regulations. The Child and Family Agency will work with service providers in partnership to promote a culture of compliance with the Regulations.

 

 Overview of Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016

The revised Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 came into effect from the 30th of June 2016, and will be introduced on a phased basis during 2016 and 2017.The new regulations consist of nine key areas and seven schedules (which consist of application forms and additional information).

Below, we have highlighted some of the key features of the new regulations, based on the most common queries we have received from providers over the past few months.

 

Garda Vetting:

·         All employees, unpaid staff and contractors (e.g. Gymboree, Stretch and Grow etc.) must be vetted before having access to children

·         Police vetting (from the country or countries) is also required for those who have lived outside of Ireland for 6 months or more

·         Services should ensure that a policy is in place on how to respond to vetting disclosures

·         Vetting disclosures must be kept on file for 5 years from an employee’s start date

 

Qualifications:

·         Each employee working directly with children must hold a minimum qualification of a major award in Early Childhood Care and Education at Level 5 on the National

          Qualifications Framework by the 31st of December 2016.

·         This does not apply to those who have signed a Grandfathering Declaration (on or before the 30th of June 2016), or those in possession of an exemption letter from the

           Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

 

Policies and Procedures:

Schedule 5 of the Regulations outlines 21 specific policies, procedures and statements which must be included in a services Policies and Procedures document. These are:

Statement of purpose and function

Healthy eating

Complaints

Outdoor play

Administration of medication

Overnight services (if applicable)

Infection control

Staff absences

Managing behaviour

Internet, photographic and recording devices use

Safe sleep

Recruitment

Fire safety

Risk management

Inclusion

Settling in

Outings (if applicable)

Staff training

Accidents and incidents

Supervision

Authorisation to collect children

 

 

Policies need to be reviewed at intervals of not more than one year, and records of each review need to be kept for 3 years after a review is carried out.

 

Information and Records

The following records must be stored for 2 years from the date a child last attends a service:

  • Children’s attendance records
  • Records of administered medicines
  • Accident and injury reports
  • Staff rosters

 

Facilities for rest and play

An outdoor play space should be available for all children. If a service does not have an outdoor space directly on the premises an alternative space must be provided. In this case, an outings policy must be implemented when children are being transported to and from an alternative outdoor space.  

 

Useful Resources:

Childcare Act 1991 Early Years Services Regulations 2016

Questions asked to the Tusla Early Years Inspectorate team from the Early Years Sector

Accessing published inspection reports

More information from Tusla including supporting documentation, guidelines for policies and procedures, Inspection Toolkit

Early Years Inspector Contact Details