Wednesday 22nd July 2015
- Report of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Future Investment in Early Years and School Age Care and Education Services published.
This report sets out proposals that will benefit parents and children across Ireland. Access to quality childcare can be a difficult financial burden for families and these recommendations must be the basis for reducing those costs. The report, launched by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly TD, provides a clear path for future investment and represents the an ambitious and detailed plan for childcare in Ireland.
For parents some of the recommendations that will be most useful will be a period of paid parental leave and an extension of the free pre-school year. Setting up a simplified single subsidy scheme based on income, that will cover both community and private settings, will ensure parents have wider choice and that all service providers have access to Government support. These changes will give parents flexibility in how they use the supports provided by Government to best meet the needs of their family.
Recent surveys have indicated that parents need to be earning up to €30,000 per year just to cover the costs of childcare for two children. This places a severe financial burden on already hard pressed families, now this report must developed and implemented so that we can reduce these costs.
Over the last few months the Oireachtas Children Committee has been examining issues around childcare and early childhood education. It was clear from all stakeholders of the need to improve affordability and quality while at the same time helping providers to recruit and retain staff. This report can provide the basis for achieving these aims but it needs to be acted upon. When the Committee resumes its work in September we will continue to focus on childcare to ensure that a pathway for implementation is developed.