Tusla Regulations

Tusla is responsible for inspecting and registering pre-schools, play groups, day nursery, crèches, day-care and similar services which cater for children aged 0-6 years.

For childcare providers there are a number of useful forms, guidance material and general information/advice on operating a childcare setting available on the Early Years Inspectorate section of the Tusla website. 

From the Childcare Care Early Years Regulations issued in June 2016, the following classifies the different level/ types of childcare provision.

Early Years Childcare Regulations 2016

To view a copy of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 and Child Care Regulations 2016 (Child Care Act 1991(Early Years Services) (Amendments) Regulations 2016 follow this link;

Tusla COVID -19 Guidance

Tusla have Covid-19 guidance material available

Tusla Early Years Inspectorate Resources

Tusla have great information and resources available to Early Years Services Click here to download a information sheet

Tusla Quality Regulatory Framework eLearning

Tusla Early Years Inspectorate have launched the Quality and Regulatory Framework eLearning Programme to support early years professionals to meet the requirements of the Early Years Regulations 2016 to prepare for a Tusla early years inspection. There is a QRF relevant to all services, please see link below to the Tusla website where you can view the QRF for each type of service in detail.

School Aged Childcare Tusla Registration

The process of registering school aged childcare services commenced in May 2019. The process is done online. For further details, click on this link. Also see the document School Aged Children Registration FAQ’s above.

Guides to preschool regulations

Important Tusla Regulatory Points for Service Providers

New early year’s services opening are required to make an application three months before the opening of the setting.

All new services registering must provide a suitable, safe and secure outdoor area where children can access daily. Where a space is not available, an alternative space must be provided (Regulation 20 (3)).


All employees must have a minimum QQI Level 5 in Early Childhood Care and Education (Regulation 9 (4)).

A person trained in first aid for children (First Aid Responder – FAR Certification) must be on the premises at all times (Regulation 25)


Early years services are required to maintain specific records of each child attending including allergies and immunisations. These records should be stored for 2 years from the date the child leaves the service (Regulation 15 (1))

All early years services must have a Health & Safety Statement as outlined by the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act, 2005.

Policies and Procedures

A copy of the 2016 regulations must be kept on premises at all times (Regulation 18)

There are 21 mandatory policies all services must have in place – see schedule 5 for full list (Regulation 10).

A policy must be developed on how disclosures are managed if they come back on Garda Vetting forms.

All early years services must develop a risk assessments policy to show how they risk assess elements of their service.

Yearly reviews must be carried out by full day and sessional services on the quality and safety of care provided. A record of this must be stored for 3 years (Regulation 14)

Vetting Disclosures

Services must carry out a vetting disclosure (formerly Garda Vetting) and reference check on all employees, contractors and unpaid workers (Volunteers/ Students). This must happen before any person has been appointed (Regulation 9 (2 & 3)).

For employees who have “lived outside the jurisdiction for six months” police vetting from the country or countries must be sought.

Garda vetting must be retained for 5 years from the date of employment (Regulation 16 (2)).

Management and Staff

A clear management structure must be documented. All services are required to have a designated person in charge and/ or a named person in charge on premises at all times (Regulation 9 (1) (a)).

Induction training is mandatory for all employees, unpaid workers and contractors (Regulation 9 (7))

Full day care settings must have 2 adults on premises at all times.

Sessional services where a person operates single handedly must have a second person familiar with the service in a position to provide assistance where necessary. This person must be close by to the service (Regulation 11 (8)

Storing of records

Under Regulation 16, the following must be stored for 2 years; details of: Details of attendance by each pre-school child on a daily basis; Details of staff rosters on a daily basis; Details of any medication administered to a pre-school child attending the service with signed parental consent; Details of any accident, injury or incident involving a pre-school child attending the service Download this appedix with more details of the Retention Time Frame: Tusla Regulations


Services must provide adequate and suitable, nutritious and varied food and drink (Regulation 22)

Logging Visitors

All children attending services must be logged in and out when they arrive and leave (Regulation 24 (1)) Where 15 or more children are attending, the service must assign this responsibility to an employee or unpaid worker (Regulation 24 (2))

All persons entering an early years setting must be approved by an employee, and each person must sign in & out of the building. This register must be stored for 1 year from the date it has begun (Regulation 24 (3 & 4))


All services, including sessional must have spaces for children to rest (Regulation 20 (1))

Full day care services and part time services must provide the following clear floor space as outlined below (Regulation 30 (2))

0-1 year

3.5 square metres

1 - 2 years

2.8 square metres

2 - 3 years

2.35 square metres

3 - 6 years

2.3 square metres

ECCE & Pre-schools

A registered provider of any ECCE scheme must provide a minimum of 1.8sq meters per child (Regulation 30 (3))

A provider who is providing a sessional pre-school service, a full day care service or a part-time day care service, or both, must provide 1.8 sq meters per child (Regulation 30 (3)

A maximum of 22 children should be in any one room at one time. (Regulation 30 (6))

Communication with TUSLA

Services are required to notify TUSLA within 3 working days if any of the following occur (Regulation 31)

(a)  The death of a pre-school child while attending the service

(b) The diagnosis of a pre-school child attending the service, an employee, unpaid worker, contractor or other person working in the service as suffering from an infectious disease within the meaning of the Infectious Diseases Regulations 1981 (S.I. No. 390 of 1981);

(c) An incident that occurs in the service and that results in the service being closed for any length of time;

(d) A serious injury to a pre-school child while attending the service that requires immediate medical treatment by a registered medical practitioner whether in a hospital or otherwise;

(e) An incident in respect of which a pre-school child attending the service goes missing while attending the service.

Visit the Tusla website www.tusla.ie and  select the
Family Support Early Years School Age Inspectorate Option for additional guidance and information.

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