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ECI Advocacy Year in Review 2016

January 10, 2017

Advocacy is the public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy
Oxford English Dictionary

Quality, sustainability and affordability: the three essential, interconnected pillars of a robust, functioning and desirable childcare system

Early Childhood Ireland’s dedicated Policy, Advocacy and Communications Team is striving to ensure that Government policy is moving toward a model of childcare in Ireland that can deliver: the best quality care and education for children in the most formative years of their development; viability and sustainability for both early childhood services and their staff; and access and affordability for parents to childcare facilities and services. As you well know, the sector is beset by a number of interconnected challenges. Well qualified staff are essential for the delivery of a quality early education and care system for children. The increasing difficulty faced by providers in retaining and recruiting well qualified staff will not be resolved without dealing with the low pay and poor conditions in the sector. Low pay cannot be addressed without proper funding models that also support sustainable business models for childcare provision. The viability of services depends on such funding models and ultimately, there can be no positive progression in any of these areas without significant investment by Government.

Much of ECI’s advocacy work for you, our members, is done at a Departmental level. Chiefly, with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Department of Education and Skills and their respective Ministers. However, ECI takes every opportunity to promote our message, including through the international human rights mechanisms and by feeding into the work of our civil society partners. 

As we move into 2017, we want to reflect on a selection of our advocacy work in 2016. Please see the following submissions made by ECI to advance the understanding that quality, sustainability and affordability must be addressed together as the three essential, interconnected pillars of a robust, functioning and desirable childcare system.

The CEDAW Committee is the UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Our submission sets out the negative impact on two specific cohorts of women, women as the vast majority of the ECE workforce and women as typically the main carers of children, of the State’s failure to adequately invest in our childcare infrastructure. It is ECI’s firm position that the State must uphold its obligations to eliminate all forms of discrimination against woman by ensuring a model of childcare in Ireland that can deliver quality for children, sustainability for services and their staff, and affordability for parents. To this end, the content of the CEDAW Submission has also been submitted, through the National Women’s Council of Ireland, to the Department of Justice and Equality’s consultation on the National Women’s Strategy 2017-2020.

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