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National Childcare Scheme welcomed by ECI

March 11, 2019

National Childcare Scheme welcomed by Early Childhood Ireland

Organisation urges that continuing investment in sector is needed


Early Childhood Ireland welcomes the launch of the National Childcare Scheme this morning.  However, the organisation says that further investment in the early years sector is urgently needed.

Teresa Heeney, CEO Early Childhood Ireland, joined Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone, and other stakeholders for the launch at the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Further details on the rollout of the National Childcare Scheme, previously known as the Affordable Childcare Scheme, were announced at the launch.

Early Childhood Ireland is pleased to see that a nationwide campaign will accompany the implementation of the scheme. It welcomes the provision of a major training programme and a Transition Support Payment for childcare providers, which the organisation sought on behalf of its members.

In addition, Early Childhood Ireland welcomes the provision of a helpline to support parents to engage with the scheme. However, it is imperative that investment in early years is enhanced to ensure quality provision is universal and to safeguard sustainability of the sector.

Speaking at the launch, Ms. Heeney commented, ‘We are delighted to join the Taoiseach, Minister Zappone, and representatives from the Children’s Rights Alliance, IBEC, and the National Parents Council for this morning’s launch. The National Childcare Scheme represents a significant step for families and for our sector.’

She continued, ‘We welcome the commitment to a broad nationwide campaign, which will include the provision of training programmes and a Transition Support Payment for providers. On behalf of our membership, Early Childhood Ireland sought these necessary supports for the early years sector. We would urge the Department to continue to keep stakeholders regularly updated as the communications campaign progresses.’

Ms. Heeney concluded, ‘Our members, as was acknowledged by Minister Zappone this morning, are a critical resource in ensuring the effective delivery of this scheme. While this is a significant step for the sector, it is vital that it is accompanied by major additional investment. Just last week, Early Childhood Ireland released research showing that the staffing crisis in the early years sector is contributing to major sustainability concerns for providers. Greater investment is essential to support both providers and staff in the delivery of this scheme, and to ensure quality for children, affordability for families, and sustainability for staff.’


For more information or media queries, please contact Grace Duffy on 086 144 8768.


Editor’s Note

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