Childminding is the largest sub-sector within childcare in Ireland and is generally undertaken by self-employed people in their own homes. Childminding is legislated for by the Childcare Act 1991, which is interpreted by the Childcare (Pre-School Services) Regulations 2006.
According to Childminding Ireland, over 73,000 families with pre-school children rely on childcare providers to enable them to work. It is estimated that up to 70% of children minded in this way are minded by a Childminder. The National Childcare Strategy estimated that there are 37,900 Childminders in Ireland.
What is a Childminder?
A ‘Childminder’ is a person who provides a childminding service as defined in the Regulations. A 'Childminding service’ means a pre-school service, which may include an overnight service, offered by a person who single-handedly takes care of pre-school children, including the childminder’s own children, in the childminder’s home for a total of more than 2 hours per day, except where the exemptions provided in Section 58 of the Child Care Act 1991 apply.
National Childminding Initiative & Guidelines
The National Guidelines for Childminders will assist childminders by providing guidance for good practice in the area of childminding. They contain details on the following:-
- nationally agreed guidelines for good childminding practice;
- detailed information on Statutory Notification to HSE and Voluntary Notification;
- contact details of relevant organisations, including addresses and telephone numbers.
Draft Childminding Action Plan
On 29th September 2019, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs launched the Draft Childminding Action Plan for the purpose of public consultation. The Draft Childminding Action Plan sets out proposals for improving access to high quality and affordable early learning and care and school-age childcare through childminding.
As well as publishing the Draft Action Plan, the Minister also launched a public consultation process on the proposals, inviting childminders, parents, other stakeholders and anyone interested in childminding to share their views.
The Draft Childminding Action Plan and Consultation Report is currently awaiting government approval prior to publication.
The Child Care Act 1991 provides for the care and protection of children and for related matters. Part VII of the Child Care Act 1991 applies to the Supervision of Pre-School Services. In Section 58, it outlines the exemptions to Part VII of Child Care Act 1991.
Section 58 of the Child Care Act 1991 – “For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that the provisions of this part shall not apply to:-
(a) the care of one or more pre-school children undertaken by a relative of the child or children of the spouse of such relative,
(b) a person taking care of one or more pre-school children of same family and no other such children (other than that person’s own such children) in that person’s home,
(c) a person taking care of not more than 3 pre-school children of different families (other than that person’s own such children) in that person’s home”.
Therefore, childminders who mind three children or fewer are not required to notify the HSE and be inspected but should notify the County Childcare Committee of their service. This is called a Voluntary Notification. The voluntary notification process is set out in the National Guidelines for Childminders 2008 (Revised edition: August 2008). Voluntary Notified Childminders agree to work within the National Guidelines for Childminders. Voluntary Notification benefits Childminders by opening up access to a range of services and supports through the county childcare committee, including information, networking and training, an annual advisory support visit and access to the Childminder Development Grants.
Please contact us for further advice, information and support on 057-9135878.
Childminders who mind four or more pre-school children, who are not related, must notify the HSE. A ‘pre-school child’ is defined as a child under-six years of age who is not attending a national school or equivalent. This is called a statutory notification. The statutory notification process is set out in the Child Care (Pre-school Services) Regulations 2006. These childminders will be inspected by the local HSE Pre-School Officer.
A Childminder should look after not more than 5 pre-school children including the Childminder’s own pre-school children. No more than two children should be less than 15 months. Exceptions in relation to the number of children being cared for less than 15 months of age can be made for multiple births or siblings. If you are interested in learning more about statutory notification, please contact the Pre-School Inspector in your local HSE Office. For more information, see http://www.hse.ie/
Childminders who have completed their statutory notification to the HSE, should still contact the County Childcare Committee as it opens up access to a range of services and supports through the County Childcare Committee, including information, networking and training and access to the Childminder Development Grants. Please contact us for further advice, information and support on 057-9135878.
Childcare Services Relief
Childminders benefit by being self-employed as they can use their own homes to provide a service, earn an income and still care for their own children. By making annual payments to RSI under Class S, they can avail of certain State benefits, principally the Contributory Pension entitlement. Childminders taking care of three or less children under the age of 18 years may be entitled to avail of the Childcare Services Relief from the Revenue Commissioners, provided their annual childminding income comes to no more than €15,000. To apply for the Childcare Services Relief, childminders are obliged to make an annual tax return of their childminding income to the Revenue Commissioners.