Today, Tuesday 3rd October 2017, Early Childhood Ireland is front and centre of a political briefing with Oireachtas members on More Affordable Childcare. The briefing is being hosted by Deputy Anne Rabbitte, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, who is a consistent voice in the Early Childhood Care and Education. As you know, More Affordable Childcare is the collective name for the interim measures put in place in September 2017 by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD, when IT delays prevented the roll-out of the Affordable Childcare Scheme.
More Affordable Childcare comprises the originally planned universal subsidy under the Affordable Childcare Scheme with enhanced subvention rates and eligibility criteria for the existing targeted supports. More Affordable Childcare is very complex and very different to what was envisaged under the Affordable Childcare Scheme in terms of the management and administration of the schemes by providers and the ease of interaction for parents. Furthermore, as the Affordable Childcare Scheme continues to be developed behind the scenes, the upcoming legislative scrutiny of the Affordable Childcare Scheme Bill provides an important opportunity to redress some of the existing imbalances, for example the disproportionate focus on labour market activation, and to think creatively about how the scheme can improve the quality of early childhood care and education in Ireland.
It is against this backdrop that Deputy Rabbitte has invited our CEO Teresa Heeney to speak. Also making presentations today are two ECI members from a community and private service, about the practical reality of implementing More Affordable Childcare on the ground.
A question and answers session at the end of the briefing will facilitate a discussion about the urgent need for investment in the early years sector, and on how best to develop our childcare infrastructure to ensure it is the best quality for children, properly resourced for services and staff and affordable for parents. Coinciding with today’s discussion, ECI’s formally published our Budget 2018 Submission Invest for the Best: Building a world-class early childhood care and education system for Ireland.
Click here to read our summary document containing ECI’s 20 Budget 2018 recommendations.