Policy in Action 26 March 2024

Policy in Action 26 March 2024
Oireachtas

This week, we look at the work of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and its importance for Early Years (EY) and School Age Care (SAC) provision.

Oireachtas Committees advise the Houses of the Oireachtas on a range of specific areas. They may consist of members of the Dáil only, or Seanad only, or both.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is a cross-party committee comprising members of the Dáil and Seanad. It was established by Dáil Eireann on Thursday, 30 July 2020 and Seanad Éireann on Friday, 25 September 2020.

What does the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth do?

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth shadows the work of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. The Committee considers matters of expenditure, administration and policy connected with the Department and associated bodies, including Tusla. It also advises on policy issues after seeking submissions and holding hearings with third parties. The Committee drafts reports outlining the Committee’s findings and recommendations with a view to influencing policy or legislation.

Committee Members

The Joint Committee on Children, Equality, Disability and Youth has 14 Members: Nine TDs and five Senators.

What does Joint Oireachtas Committee do for Early Years and School Age Care?

As part of its work, the Joint Committee considers policy issues covering Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. In relation to Early Years and School Age Care, the Joint Committee’s work programme for 2024 shows that the Committee will look at the following related issues:

  1. Engagement with the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in relation to the Implementation of First 5.
  2. Ongoing engagement and scrutiny of Tusla
  3. Engagement with relevant stakeholders on child protection and safeguarding.
Engagement with Early Childhood Ireland

Early Childhood Ireland has met with the Committee on several occasions to discuss matters of importance concerning the Early Years and School Age Care sector.

In 2023, the Committee conducted pre-legislative scrutiny of the Heads and General Scheme of the Child Care (Amendment) Bill, which proposes to give Tusla greater enforcement powers, and to regulate Childminders. Early Childhood Ireland was invited to make a statement on the Bill to the Committee in May 2023 and we were pleased to see that the Joint Committee acknowledged the matters that we raised in it subsequent report.

Most recently, the Joint Committee met with Early Childhood Ireland to discuss matters concerning the Early Years and School Age Care Sector. Our statement covered issues such as staffing, investment, the administrative burden and the response to setting closures. It is noteworthy that of the Committee’s 33 recommendations in its Report on the Challenges Facing the Early Childhood Care and Education Sector, 11 are proposals put forth by Early Childhood Ireland.

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Updates
Financial Reporting Requirements under Core Funding

On  Friday, 15 March 2024, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth provided an update on the financial reporting requirements under Core Funding.

  1. Deadline: the deadline for submitting completed Income and Expenditure templates will be 26 June 2024
  2. Portal:
    • The portal will be open to providers to register and to link their nominated accountant on or before the 29 April.
    • The portal will be open on or before the 31 May to accept completed Income and Expenditure templates.
Get in touch

If you have any questions or would like to know more about Early Childhood Ireland’s policy work, please do not hesitate to contact us at policy@earlychildhoodireland.ie

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