Newly published reports on funding reform and workforce development ‘have the capacity to deliver real change’ however further investment must follow –
Early Childhood Ireland, the leading organisation in the early years sector, has today (07.12.21) welcomed the publication of two Government reports which focus on the overall quality and benefit to Early Years and School Age Children but warn that if their recommendations are to be achieved, the continuing year-on-year investment will be vital.
Early Childhood Ireland, which supports 3,900 childcare members nationwide, says that with the publication of the ‘Partnership for the Public Good’ report – which announces a new sector funding model – and the ‘Nurturing Skills’ report – which outlines a workforce plan – the Government is honouring important commitments made in the First 5 strategy.
Commenting on the announcements today, Frances Byrne, Director of Policy at Early Childhood Ireland, said: “Both reports potentially signal a real and significant commitment to bring Ireland’s childcare system in line with the other EU Member States. By committing to a new stream of core funding and by recognising the importance of a professional workforce for the delivery of high-quality, child-centred care and learning, this Government is answering the concerns raised by us, by providers and by parents, for many years now.
“However, these kinds of reforms cannot be implemented without continued investment and if they are to be realised successfully, it will also require careful and full consultation with stakeholders.
“We welcome the recommendations in the Partnership for the Public Good report that local structures should be considered to deliver funding reforms, and that a sophisticated monitoring and evaluation framework should be introduced by the Department of Children.
“The funding commitments made in Budget 2022 demonstrated that this Government recognises the importance of our sector and the scale of reform needed. The ambitions outlined in today’s reports will require year-on-year investment to support childcare providers to deliver high-quality care and education to children, and to recognise and fully value the sector’s professionals properly.”