Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs

Discussion with CEO of Tusla on Future Developments and Update on Childcare Facilities

Photo of Kathleen FunchionKathleen Funchion (Carlow-Kilkenny, Sinn Fein)
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On the other issue, we had a discussion at the committee during the summer and there was a lot of talk about closing facilities and whether there was the power to do that. Is there ever a situation, and what might that situation be, whereby if a decision were taken to close a crèche, it would be the case that if somebody had a criminal conviction, he or she could then get to a situation where he or she is permitted to open and run a crèche?

If parents availing of the early childhood care and education, ECCE, scheme year are unhappy with a facility, they take their children out of that facility, put them in a new one, and are told by the new facility they cannot get the ECCE there because the other facility is still claiming the money and is refusing to deregister the children weeks later, how does that happen? That leads to a situation where a place that is rightly under scrutiny is still receiving public money. What is more, the child in question should not be at the disadvantage of not having the ECCE year because the parents felt they had no choice but to take him or her out of the facility.

I refer to the matter of parents contacting Tusla with information on a facility. Let us say that this is serious information such as the alleged falsification of documents, such as staff qualifications, and yet there has been no follow-up on those allegations there has been no subsequent contact with those parents. I would be very concerned about such a situation. In general, what exactly is the current and ongoing process if there is a serious question mark over a facility? Would there be a weekly inspection or is there a process around that?