Tuesday, 14 June 2022
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Child and Family Agency
1190. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he will clarify the situation in relation to a facility (details supplied); if Tusla has withdrawn this facility’s registration and therefore its ability to access funding under the early childhood care and education scheme; if so, the reason for this action; if the agency has met with any representatives of the facility to resolve this issue; if the agency will now meet with parents, the relevant local authority and staff affected by this decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30079/22]
1191. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if she will clarify the position in relation to Pobal funding for a facility (details supplied); if Pobal has withdrawn funding from this facility; if so, the rationale for same; the efforts that the agency has made to resolve any outstanding issues; if the agency will meet with management, local authority personnel and parents affected by this decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30080/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1190 and 1191 together.
All Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) services which apply for funding under any of my Department’s early learning and childcare support schemes, including ECCE and the NCS, must be registered with Tulsa. Tulsa ensures that the staff are properly qualified, that they are Garda vetted and that the premises are fit for purpose.
If an ELC or SAC moves to a new premises they are required to notify Tulsa to enable them to inspect the premises to ensure that they are appropriate for use as an early learning and childcare centre, including that they have to appropriate planning permission, fire safety certificate and that the proposed number of children is appropriate. A change of address nullifies Tulsa registration.
The service must also inform Pobal, the scheme administrator, by updating Pobal's Hive platform, as set out in the funding agreements for my Department's funding schemes, as set out below:
In the case of a change of address of a service, the service must ensure the new address/premises is registered with Tusla and then the service must log onto the Hive with all relevant details in order to request a new Service Reference number.
The childcare service referred to in the question moved to a new premises without notifying Tusla or Pobal. This meant that the service was operating on a unregistered basis. Scheme funding cannot be paid to services which are not Tulsa registered, to ensure the quality and safety of early learning and childcare services.
When my Department became aware of that the service was operating on an unregistered basis scheme funding was suspended, as is the normal practice. Both Pobal and Tulsa immediately engaged with the service to ensure that the situation could be rectified and to complete the change of address procedure.
The service's scheme funding is no longer suspended and the service can reopen, at the new address.