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Childcare providers to brief Oireachtas on new ‘More Affordable Childcare’

October 4, 2017

Early Childhood Ireland members to spell out the reality of putting the new scheme in place in local communities

 

Childcare operators from Tallaght and Sligo will today brief members of the Oireachtas about their direct experiences of delivering More Affordable Childcare for the first time.

More Affordable Childcare measures came into effect last month as an interim step towards the full Affordable Childcare Scheme. That scheme was delayed when an IT portal, intended to facilitate the registration of children and families for subsidies, was not completed in time for a proposed September 2017 roll-out. In the wake of this delay, the onus of registering families for More Affordable Childcare has passed to providers, creating a considerable administrative burden for the sector.

Additional discussion points are expected to include childcare fees and government investment in the early years sector. A recent survey conducted by Early Childhood Ireland indicated that 79pc of providers did not plan to increase fees for their services in September, and that 74pc had not increased fees in the previous two years. However, media interest in childcare fees has remained high following the entry into effect of More Affordable Childcare, while the issue of government investment has also been raised in the wake of the publication of the most recent OECD Indicators Report. This report indicates that Irish expenditure on early years accounts for only about 0.1% of GDP, placing Ireland lowest among OECD countries for investment in the sector.

Today’s briefing will focus attention on the prospective benefits of increased government investment, which could provide for improved salary levels, pay scales, dedicated professionalization plans, and higher subsidies for families availing of childcare services.

Speaking ahead of the briefing, Teresa Heeney, CEO Early Childhood Ireland, said ‘Today’s briefing is a welcome opportunity for early years providers, working at the coal face of these major changes, to discuss with Oireachtas members the challenges facing the sector. With the entry into effect of More Affordable Childcare, there has been considerable media interest in issues such as childcare fees but comparatively little focus on the challenging conditions affecting the sector.’

‘We are grateful to Deputy Rabbitte for hosting this briefing, a week ahead of the Budget 2018 announcement. It will allow Early Childhood Ireland’s members to provide a much-needed reality check about the difficulties experienced by early years professionals,’ concluded Ms Heeney.

For more information or media queries, please contact Grace Duffy on (01) 4040644 or mobile 086 1448768, or Frances Byrne on (01) 4040696 or mobile 086 1438680.

 

Editor’s Note
Elizabeth Jackson from Tallaght Childcare Centre, a community provider, and Louise Kilbane from Lollipop Lane crèche, a private setting located in Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, will be joined by Early Childhood Ireland CEO Teresa Heeney at a briefing in Leinster House at 3pm. The briefing is hosted by Deputy Anne Rabbitte, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs.

Early Childhood Ireland is the largest organisation in the early years sector. It represents over 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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