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Future Investment in Childcare in Ireland

Future Investment in Childcare in Ireland

On the 22nd of July the Department of Children and Youth Affairs published a report, which proposes how best to invest in childcare services into the future.

The report, prepared by the recently established Inter-departmental Working Group on Future Investment in Early Years and School Age Care and Education Services, proposes options to enhance affordability for parents, improve the quality of services and outcomes for children, and promote greater accessibility in the sector.

Three strands of action are set out in the report:

  • Incremental investment in subsidising fees through existing and reformed schemes
  • Measures to make sure there is adequate supply for future demand and
  • Measures to embed quality in the sector.

In addition, the report proposes three main areas where investment can be targeted:

  • A longer period of parental leave, which could be shared between both parents, to enhance outcomes in the first year of a child’s life;
  • An enhanced ECCE provision (currently the ‘free pre-school year’) which would be extended to the point at which primary school starts; and allow entry at any month between September and June;
  • A new single subvention scheme to cover after pre-school, after-school and out of school childcare up to age 12 and would replace all existing targeted schemes including the Community Childcare Subvention Programme (CCS), and the Training and Employment Childcare Programmes (TEC). It would cover both community and private settings

The report has a range of proposals to ensure adequate supply of childcare facilities and recommends establishing the scope for using school buildings for after-school care.

Proposals to enhance the quality of childcare provision are outlined, including proposals for an expansion of mentoring services and continuous professional development.

Report of Inter-Departmental Working Group: Future Investment in Childcare in Ireland

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