PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release
Crèches that Repeatedly Flout Regulations Should be Closed - Children’s Rights Alliance
Responding to last night's RTE Investigates documentary exposé 'Crèches, Behind Closed Doors' on Hyde and Seek child care facilities in Dublin, the Children's Rights Alliance has expressed its serious concern in relation to the treatment of the children depicted in these settings.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance says: “What we saw in the RTÉ Investigates programme last night reflects a disregard for children’s welfare, safety and development. Any childcare facility that continually flouts regulations must face sanctions, funding cuts and closure.
The fact that milk was watered down for infants and toddlers says a lot about the ethos of the centre. Children were fed instant noodles costing 12 cent a pack in what can only be described as meal rations. Sometimes up to 20 babies were left with one childcare worker. The list goes on and yet at the same time, massive post tax profits were made in 2018 by Hyde and Seek of over one million Euro. This is unacceptable.
The question has to be asked whether centres that fail to comply with regulations should get any government funding at all towards parents’ childcare fees. It is welcome that the Government has made clear that centres have to be registered with Tusla to take part in any national programmes. However, A Programme for A Partnership Government committed to withdrawing funding from providers that do not meet quality standards in the free pre-school scheme. We are calling on Government to expedite this commitment and introduce a new Quality Mark to ensure that public money doesn’t go to non-compliant providers. The vast majority of centres do an amazing job providing a public service to children. All providers should.
Last night’s programme was also shocking because it showed young children being left to cry, babies being left to sleep in bouncers and sometimes children were shouted at and forced to sleep on their tummies with their heads pressed down. No child should have to deal with this type of behaviour. What is striking for us is that there is no professional body for early years’ staff. So someone that harms a child can’t be struck off for malpractice. This has to change and needs to be a priority.
Tusla’s Early Years’ Inspectorate has a key role to play in ensuring that children are safe, cared for and that providers reach minimum standards. A positive outcome from this programme is that we now know that oversight works. Many corner-cutting exercises were also picked up in Tusla’s Early Years Inspection reports and Tusla took action against Hyde and Seek for failing to register a new facility. New regulations came into force in 2016 and Tusla have been enforcing them. However, we also need to look at whether we need to beef up Tusla’s powers. It’s striking that Tusla can’t go into the centres today after watching the programmes and shut the centres down.
Tanya Ward concluded: “Understandably, this programme has caused huge upset to parents involved and is distressing for anyone who cares about children. Parents need to be assured that their children are well looked after and nurtured in all child-minding settings. We should not tolerate providers who do not have the best interests of children at heart.”
Contact: Emma Archbold / Emma McKinley Tel: 01-6629400 / 087 6559067, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editor:
• Tanya Ward, Chief Executive and Saoirse Brady, Legal and Policy Director are available for interview.
• The Children’s Rights Alliance operates an information helpline and would be glad to help anyone with a concern about a child care provider or for those wanting to learn about how to make a complaint.
Please include the details of the Helpline for your readers/listeners:
Helpline: 01 902 0494
Open Mondays 10am to 2pm and Wednesdays 2pm to 7pm
About the Children’s Rights Alliance
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 100 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Further information is available at: www.childrensrights.ie or on Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL