Dublin Mid-West TD, Gino Kenny, has submitted a Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in response to the recent revelations about frequent breaches of minimum standards in Hyde & Seek creches as covered in an RTE documentary last week.
Deputy Kenny has asked Minister Katherine Zappone, to account for Tusla’s failure to keep parents of children in these creches informed about serious issues and criminal prosecutions of the owner of the childcare facilities. It has since been revealed that Tusla have been aware of frequent breaches in the Child and Family Agency’s minimum standards over a number of years but have failed to inform the parents of the children attending these creches.
The TD also called for the government to implement a not for profit crèche service so that parents could have choice and a more affordable option of childcare.
Deputy Kenny said: “Like most people, I am completely shocked and horrified at what the RTE documentary revealed. My primary concern is for the little babies and children who were trustingly placed in the care of these people and who were often treated in such an appalling way.
“Parents must be able to trust that creches are properly regulated and in compliance with the standards laid down in law. Tusla is the agency responsible for ensuring the regulation and compliance of childcare facilities and I am deeply disturbed that despite numerous breaches and in fact, criminal prosecution of the creche owner, Tusla failed to let the parents of these children know what was going on.
“With reported profits of over €2.7 million in its last five financial years, Hyde & Seek appear to have cut unacceptable corners at the expense of the care of children in its efforts to maximise profits.
“Tusla has many questions to answer in relation to this and I am calling on Minister Zappone to provide the answers to the parents of these children. Furthermore, I am urging her to introduce legislation that will ensure that in future, Tusla informs parents where a company or individual faces criminal charges in respect of the care of their children.
“At the end of the day childcare should not be seen as a business and I would urge the government to set up a not for profit childcare service.”
PQ- To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to outline the reasons why the parents of children attending Hide & Seek creches were not informed of a catalogue of breaches and issues uncovered by Tusla up to and including the District Court prosecution of creche owner, Anne Davy, for failing to safeguard the health and safety of a three-year-old boy in her care and her more recent prosecution this year for failure to register a creche with Tusla; what steps she intends to take to ensure that in future Tusla informs parents where a company or individual faces criminal charges in respect of the care of their children; her plans to introduce mandatory reporting of creche breaches/issues to parents of children attending these creches; and if she will make a statement on the matter.