Nurseries given more time to adjust for rules

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The enforcement of new childcare regulations in Ireland has been postponed until next September because many daycare settings were in breach of new staffing ratios and police vetting procedures were not in place. The decision to put back implementation from January followed representations made by the National Children's Nurseries Association (NCNA) to allow its members more time to make the necessary changes.

The enforcement of new childcare regulations in Ireland has been postponed until next September because many daycare settings were in breach of new staffing ratios and police vetting procedures were not in place.

The decision to put back implementation from January followed representations made by the National Children's Nurseries Association (NCNA) to allow its members more time to make the necessary changes.

The new regulations stipulated that the adult:child ratio for babies should be one to three, and one to five for children up to the age of six. But the government also set a cap on the number of children in each room, based on a space allocation for each group of children. A baby should have 3.5 square metres and a child under two should have 2.8 square metres, while a two- to three-year-old would have 2.35 square metres.

Irene Gunning, chief executive of the IPPA early years organisation, said, 'The space requirements and the cap on the number of children allowed in individual rooms would mean that some of the bigger creches could lose children who have already been signed up for the school year.'

Ms Gunning criticised minister for children Brian Lenihan for failing to think through the implications of the changes and for not providing sufficient resources for vetting procedures to be carried out by the Irish police, the Garda.

In a letter sent out last week to NCNA members, director Catherine Bond said that she had been assured that funding for the modification of nursery premises could be obtained through the 33 county childcare committees.

She said that Mr Lenihan had indicated that he did not want the revised regulations to result in providers losing places. Her letter stated, 'If you establish that the implementation of the new regulations will result in the loss of childcare places in your nursery, please let us know so that we can inform the minister.'

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