Creche and Childcare Negligence
When you bring your child to a creche, preschool or other childcare facility, you rightfully place complete trust in the carers and assistants to take care of your child and ensure their health & safety while on their premises. You expect your child to be treated with respect, with attention to their needs, and with dignity.
It is true to say that in most cases, children are nurtured, loved, educated and cared for to the highest of standards and experience a very happy environment.
However, there are occasions when a childcare facility fails to live up to these standards and breach their duty of care towards the children in their care. These breaches of care include lack of supervision of children to the extent that a child suffers harm and overcrowding of facilities with children, as well as more serious incidents such as abusive or threatening behaviour, whether physical or verbal, towards a child.
Every person running a creche, preschool, or other childminding service has a duty to comply with the following:
- The Child Care Act 1991;
- The Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016; and
- The Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) (Amendments) Regulations 2016.
These regulations ensure for example, the following (among many other requirements that the facility is legal obliged to adhere to):
- That every worker in a childcare facility has been Garda vetted;
- Minimum ratios of adults to children;
- Minimum floor space requirements in the premises for the work, play and movement of children attending the service;
- That records are kept in respect of who is authorised to collect the child, illnesses, disabilities, allergies, and any special needs of the child;
- That appropriate and suitable care practices are in place in the pre-school service, having regard to the number of children attending the service and the nature of their needs;
- That there are adequate and suitable facilities for a pre-school child to rest during the day;
- That adequate and suitable, nutritious and varied food and drink is available to each child attending the pre-school service; and
- That there is adequate and suitable furniture, play and work equipment and materials available on the premises of the pre-school service.
When vetting a professional childcare facility with a view to enrolling your children, ensure compliance, ensure you are satisfied that all is as it should be and ensure that the wellbeing, development and health of your child and all children in their care is a priority at all times. If you have any concerns, ask questions – well managed childcare businesses will never have an issue with that.
If you are concerned that your child is attending a pre-school or other childcare facility that does not comply with the above regulations, Lavelle Partners can assist. At the outset, we will listen to the details of your concerns and help you to determine if the childcare facility can be held liable in respect of their conduct. Having successfully managed cases involving negligence by creches, pre-schools and other childcare facilities, we have the knowledge, experience and understanding required.
About the Author, Mark Jones