Minister publishes detailed implementation plan for First 5, the whole-of-Government strategy for babies, young children and their families

Wednesday 22nd May 2019

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone, has today unveiled the Government’s initial implementation plan for ‘First 5’, Ireland’s first ever strategy for early childhood.

First 5 is a radical ten-year strategy that will deliver:

  1. A broader range of options for parents to balance working and caring
  2. A new model of parenting support 
  3. New developments in child health, including a dedicated child health workforce 
  4. Reform of the Early Learning and Care (ELC) system, including a new funding model
  5. A package of measures to tackle early childhood poverty

The Implementation Plan describes the ambitious steps that will be taken in the initial implementation phase – from 2019 to 2021. Its development was led by an Inter-Departmental Group chaired by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Speaking about today’s publication, Minister Zappone said:

“As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I am delighted to publish the First 5 Implementation Plan

This three-year plan describes the steps we will take in the short term to reform the architecture of early childhood services over the next decade, ensuring that children have the necessary supports in life to develop to their full potential.

This Plan sets us well on course towards fully realising the vision of First 5”.

First 5 includes more than 150 actions that will be progressed in the initial implementation phase. 

To view the full announcement including a summary of key actions and milestones click here 

Have your say on School Age Childcare
Public Consultation launched ahead of National Childcare Scheme

Tuesday 21st May 2019

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, today launched a public and stakeholder consultation process on future regulations and a quality improvement framework for school-age childcare.

The numbers of families accessing school-age childcare has seen significant growth and development in recent years.  It is expected that the families of more than 21,000 school going children will benefit from subsidies through the National Childcare Scheme when it starts later this year.  In addition, €3.45m in capital funding has been invested since 2017 to create an additional 6,131 school-age childcare places. 

Last December Minister Zappone signed Regulations which provided for the registration of school-age childcare services. These initial Regulations came into force in February, enabling services that register with Tusla to take part in the National Childcare Scheme when it opens. 

The National Childcare Scheme will provide financial support towards the cost of childcare for parents availing of these services.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs is now seeking to build on this work by developing comprehensive Regulations and a quality improvement framework. This work will build on draft quality standards that were prepared by a national working group in 2018 and which are being published as part of the public consultation.






The Early Years’ Service Profile 2018/2019 is now LIVE on the PIP portal

What is the Early Years Service Profile?

The Early Years Service Profile is an annual survey completed by Early Learning and Care providers.  The survey is developed by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Pobal in consultation with key stakeholders and it is the primary source of data on the Irish early years sector.

The data provided by all respondents is critical to understanding and mapping trends in the sector and is used by Government to inform future policy and planning at both local and national levels.

Services are asked to complete the service profile for each facility (i.e. one for each DCYA Reference).


What data is collected through the Early Years Service Profile?

A wide range of data is collected in the service profile. This data is categorised under four main headings

·         Service Details and Provision

·         Capacity and Attendance

·         Child Protection

·         Staffing (numbers, qualification, level of turnover, etc.


Who will have access to this data?

Data will be made available to:

  • Government Departments (e.g. Department of Education and Skills Early Years Inspectorate)
  • Organisations conducting research and analysis on behalf of Government Departments
  • Statutory agencies (e.g. Tusla Early Years Inspectorate)
  • Better Start Early Years Specialist Service
  • City/County Childcare Committees

Data on capacity and attendance may also be shared with Local Authorities to inform local planning and development priorities.

Data may also be combined with findings from other surveys of the early years sector conducted on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Summary data will also be shared with a range of organisations for research and statistical purposes. For more information about sharing of summary data, please read Section 0. Intro in your service profile.

Where can I access the survey?

When you login to the PIP portal, you will land on the ‘Service’ page which contains a link to the ‘Early Years Service Profile 2018/2019.’ 

What is the deadline for completing this survey?

The deadline for completing your survey is 5pm on Friday 24th May

How long will it take to complete the Service Profile?

The length of time it takes to complete the survey depends on the size of your service, the number of staff and number of children enrolled.

Based on feedback from previous years, it should take approximately one hour to complete a survey. The service profile contains a ‘Save as Draft’ function so that it can be completed in more than one sitting.

 Are guidelines available for filling out the form?

The Early Years Service Profile Guidelines 2018/2019 provides helpful tips for completing your survey.

You can also find these guidelines and survey screengrabs in the How to Guides section in PIP Resources.

 Who do we contact for help?

If your service has any questions about the Early Years Service Profile, please contact the Pobal Helpdesk at:

Email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel:       01 511 7222

We thank you for your co-operation in completing your service profile and we appreciate your contribution to improving our knowledge of the early years sector.



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