TUSLA does not have the ability to shut down non-compliant creches due to flaws in the legislation, and urgently needs to be given those powers by the Government, a Galway TD has demanded.
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on children and youth affairs, Anne Rabbitte, is calling on the Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, to extend powers to TUSLA to “punish non-compliant creches”, including making it “impossible” for any management team or company involved with “very poor levels of service” to operate a creche in the State.
The Portumna based TD said that currently, it can take “months” for TUSLA to remove a service from the register, even where it is “obvious to inspectors” that rules are being flagrantly broken and “children are being endangered”.
Recently, Minister Zappone confirmed that where a service is de-registered, it is the registered service provider - the person designated as the creche manager - who is removed from the register. However, as Dep Rabbitte pointed out, in many creches, it is not the owner or the top-level management listed as the service provider, but the line or operational manager. “So where a creche is de-registered,” she said, “it would merely be the line manager who couldn’t continue to provide a service, not the owner.”
Dep Rabbitte said this situation, where creche companies can continue operating with a different manager named on the TUSLA register, represents “a huge lack of accountability”, and she is calling on Minister Zappone to rectify this anomaly.