Tulsa will not reveal the 37 childcare facilities on its critical list, with the agency saying the operators have a right to fair procedures and sharing details could impact on future prosecutions.
The figure emerged yesterday during an Oireachtas committee hearing, which was held in the wake of concerns raised in a recent RTÉ documentary on childcare.
Tusla says it is not able to identify the services undergoing enforcement action - but has stressed it would inform a parent if there was an immediate child protection issue.
The agency adds that it will update the Children's Minister on the status of the facilities at risk.
According to Tusla, the "vast majority" of early years’ services at the highest level of enforcement make the necessary changes "to improve the standard of care and as a result are deescalated from this level of concern".
It also says that services being inspected or undergoing enforcement action have a right to fair procedures - adding that the process can be "highly litigious".
Tusla 'completely understands' concerns
Brian Lee, director of quality assurance at Tusla, observed: "We completely understand the concern that parents have regarding Tusla being unable to share information with them when an early years’ service is undergoing enforcement action.
"This would never prevent us from informing a parent where there is an immediate child protection concern being managed by the social work team, and we hope this provides some reassurance to parents during this time.”
In a separate statement, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs said it is not aware of the identity of the 37 services in questions.
However, Minister Katherine Zappone has asked for updates on all the cases - and Tusla is said to have agreed to do so.
Meanwhile, Frances Byrne - head of advocacy at Early Childhood Ireland - said the revelation of concerns at 37 facilities came as a shock.
She observed: "We were surprised... because we'd never heard it before, and it came at the very end of the hearing.
"No further information was given, and quite possibly with the current legal setup Tusla wouldn't have been able to give more information even if there had been more time."