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Sunday 21 July 2019

Parents want childminders garda vetted by law, survey finds

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Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Almost nine in 10 Irish adults believe that private childminders should be Garda vetted and have basic First Aid training, according to a new survey.

But that does not include  family members, such as grandparents, who regularly help out with childcare, the survey organisers said.

The same research has also found a significant increase in public support for parents only paying towards childcare in line with their overall income.

The views have  emerged  in the second annual Childcare Barometer, published by Early Childhood Ireland, the largest organisation in the early years sector.

It found 87pc of adults supported extending Garda vetting and First Aid regulations to private childminders,  while 64pc wanted childcare outgoings linked to income levels.

Early Childhood Ireland’s director of policy and Advocacy  Frances Byrne said the finding in relation to  paying for childcare - showing a 7pc increase in support from last year -  were  “very notable”.

“This follows the introduction of the Affordable Childcare Scheme subsidies for families just over a year ago and reflects a broadened awareness of the benefits for children of quality, accessible early years care,” she said.

Other findings in the  survey include 70pc  strongly agreeing  that parents should be financially supported to stay at home with their  child for their first year  and  74pc believing  that the education of children under five was just as important as the education of children over five.

Meanwhile, 59pc of adults  supported  the idea of parental leave benefit being paid at the EU’s recommended rate of 66pc  of weekly earnings, rather than a flat-rate,  currently  €240 per week.

Ms Byrne said the findings showed the  Irish adults were  strongly in favour of continued and enhanced investment in the sector.

She referred to First 5, the Government’s recently published , first ever strategy for early years, and said the  Barometer findings  represented “a vital mandate for Government to continue to robustly invest in and deliver further supports for the sector and families.”

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