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Budget 2018 investment in early years is ‘significantly less’ than levels needed

October 10, 2017

Amount allocated today falls considerably short of level sought by Early Childhood Ireland

 

Budget 2018 has brought a very low level of increased investment in childcare.

Last year, Minister Zappone managed to secure significant funding for the early years sector, but it is essential that this level of investment is sustained for the foreseeable future. It is accepted by all stakeholders that Ireland lags considerably behind other developed countries in the amount invested in early years.

‘In our pre-budget submission “Invest for the Best”, Early Childhood Ireland sought progress for the early years sector in three key areas – quality, sustainability, and affordability,’ said Teresa Heeney, CEO of Early Childhood Ireland. ‘While the measures announced today may help to improve sustainability, the overall amount invested is significantly less than that sought by Early Childhood Ireland. Considerable and sustained funding over successive Budgets is what is needed to achieve the 1% of GDP recommended by UNICEF and others.’

‘Early Childhood Ireland awaits further detail on increase of 7% in the capitation levels paid to early years providers for the delivery of the ECCE (early childhood care and education) scheme. While this falls short of the 15% increase identified by the organisation as key to supporting the recruitment and retention of high quality staff in the sector, we welcome it as a step in the right direction,’ concluded Ms. Heeney.

Early Childhood Ireland welcomes the announcement of additional support, totalling €18 million, for the management and administration of ‘More Affordable Childcare’ and the ECCE scheme. The organisation had sought €3 million to further enhance inspections of early years settings. However, the €2.3 million announced today falls short of this. Early Childhood Ireland awaits further detail on this allocation.

 

For more information or media queries, please contact Grace Duffy on (01) 404 0644 or 086 1448768 or Frances Byrne on (01) 404 0696 or 086 1438680.

 

Note to editors
Early Childhood Ireland is the largest organisation in the early years sector. It represents almost 3,800 childcare members, who support over 100,000 children and their families through preschool, afterschool, and full day-care provision nationwide.

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