Childminding is governed by the Childcare (1991) Act and the Child Care Regulations (2006), but only a small minority are currently included in the new registration system for childcare services. This will change over the coming years due to the National Action Plan for Childminding https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/df207-national-action-plan-for-childminding-2021-2028
Under the current Regulations, a childminder can mind up to five unrelated children under the age of six. Registration with the Child and Family Agency is obligatory if four or more preschool children are being minded, and these childminders are inspected by the Early Years Officer.
Under current planning laws, a childminder can have no more than six children in the home under local planning regulations.
If a childminder plans to mind 4 or more pre-school children they must register with Tusla, 3 months prior to the commencement of minding the 4th pre-school child. Tusla registered childminders are subject to inspection by Tusla’s Early Years’ Inspectorate.
All childminders are recommended to have appropriate childminding insurance for their service however, Tusla Registered Childminders must ensure that the childminding service is adequately insured and hold a current certificate of insurance. Insurance may be accessed through one’s current home insurance company or Childminding Ireland. Under local planning (Business Legislation Schemes and Supports) laws you can mind no more than 6 children of any age, including your own, something reflected in Childminding Business and home insurance
Childminders who are not required to register with TUSLA (because they mind three or fewer preschoolers or provide school age care) may voluntarily notify their city or county childcare committee of their childcare service.
A childminder will agree rates individually with each family according to requirements, i.e. number of children to be minded, number of meals provided, transport to or from school etc.
Hourly rates are dependent on number of factors such as the number of hours that you may be engaging a childminder; the qualifications that the childminder holds and the years of experience that the childminder has. Services such as collection and drop off at school/other extra-curricular activities (such as visits/trips) and whether or not provision of food is something you require will also effect the cost of engaging a childminder.
It is important that you discuss all these items with a childminder and agree on a clear pricing structure before engaging services to avoid any confusion further down the line. Many childminders will be able to draft up a simple contract between the childminder and the parent which will clearly outline the pricing structure and what is or isn’t included in the price agreed.
While both a childminder and a nanny offer home based care, a childminder works in his/her own home, where a nanny works in the family home. Typically, a childminder is self-employed, whereas a nanny is considered an employee, and her employer, the family, needs to take care of taxes, PRSI etc. For more information on Nannies, go to: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/types_of_employment/full_time_employment/domestic_workers_in_ireland.html
Arrange to visit potential childminders in their own homes, ideally when there are children there so you can see if the atmosphere is happy and busy. Ask to look over the house and see the areas available to the children. Have a look at the toys, books and equipment. Ask lots of questions! You should always ask for character references and follow these up.
It is recommended that you pay your childminder for 52 weeks a year. In the case of extended breaks, for example in the case of parents who are teachers, it is usual for childminders and parents to work out an arrangement whereby a proportion of the cost is paid to retain the place. These arrangements should form part of the initial contract that is agreed between childminder and parent.
Have further questions? Contact the dedicated Childminding team at Wicklow County Childcare Committee.