Childcare plan must reduce costs for parents – Buttimer

Wednesday 22nd July 2015

  • Report of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Future Investment in Early Years and School Age Care and Education Services published.

150429 Youth Work Ireland Oireachtas BriefingThis 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.

Posted under Children & Youth Affairs, National Work

Victims of crimes no longer watching from the sidelines – Buttimer

Wednesday, 15th July 2015

  • Heads and General Scheme of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill approved by Government.

For too long the victims of crime have merely been seen as witnesses by the criminal justice system. With these new proposals victims of crime will be given statutory rights and formal recognition. When this Bill is passed victims of crime will no longer be left to watch from the sidelines, as investigations and prosecutions take place.

Being a victim of crime can be a traumatic experience, but too often this is compounded by a lack of support. This Bill will put in place a framework that can make sure that victims of crime receive the support they deserve. Victims will have a right to information on their role within the criminal justice system. They will have rights to written acknowledgment of their complaint, updates on the progress of investigations and assessment of and protection from the risk of any secondary or repeat victimisation.

These are all very welcome improvements that will remove unnecessary stress, from victims of what is an already difficult experience. One of the biggest changes will be that victims will have a right to know why a prosecution is not taken and to have that decision reviewed. Also, when a criminal is sent to prison the victim will be kept informed about any release, or request for release, from jail. This will reassure victims and show them that the criminal justice system is working in their interests.

This Bill represents a cultural shift in how victims of crime are treated by the criminal justice system. It will ensure that they receive the support that they deserve. Victims of crime will no longer be left out in the cold, when this Bill is passed they will be rightfully at the centre of the criminal justice system.

Ends

Posted under Crime, National Work

Extra SNAs a commitment to supporting children with care needs – Buttimer

Tuesday 7th July 2015

  • Extra 610 Special Needs Assistant posts for 2015/16

The announcement of 610 new Special Needs Assistant posts is a clear commitment to supporting children with care needs in schools. These extra posts mean that every child assessed as needing an SNA will have access to one. This will come as welcome news to parents across the country.

When a child is assessed as having a particular care need it is vital that the support needed is delivered. This is essential to help each child reach his or her potential and to help them get the most out of their time in school. With record numbers of SNAs we are now able to assist all children with an assessed care need.

SNAs play a critical role in our schools, helping children to get the most out of their school experience. Having 610 new posts for the new school year will ensure that more employment opportunities are available for SNAs. This announcement is a further signal on how important their role is and the value that is placed on them.

It has been a consistent policy of this Government to increase the number of SNAs in our schools. In the school year just finished we had a record number of SNAs, now we have a further increase. Beginning in September there will be 11,820 whole-time SNAs in our schools, that’s an increase of 11.7% under this Government. With this are helping and supporting more children in our schools.

Posted under Education, National Work

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