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Provision of Early learning and childcare requires engagement from all public bodies to address current challenges – Bruton

7th December 2021 - Richard Bruton TD

The provision of early learning and childcare requires innovative solutions from all public bodies to ensure the needs of families, providers and our young people are met, Fine Gael TD Richard Bruton has said.

Deputy Bruton welcomed today’s publication of the Report of the expert on a new funding model for early learning and childcare by Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman, which has been approved by Government. ‘Nurturing Skills: The Workforce Plan for Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare, 2022-2028’ was also launched today.

Deputy Richard Bruton, Fine Gael Party Chairman, said: “Today’s report, titled ‘Partnership for the Public Good: A New Funding Model for Early Learning and Care’, goes some way towards making childcare provision and affordability better for families, with improvements in conditions and pay for those working in the sector.

“In particular, it points towards introducing a cap on the proportion parents would have to pay for childcare, as well as a major investment in career structure and training for staff.

“It also recommends the move towards a new partnership between the State and providers for future development of the early learning and childcare sector.

“However, there is a clear demand for other areas of innovation across all public bodies to make Early Childhood a genuine priority. In particular, there needs to be easier access to existing state-built assets, particularly in schools and sports.

“There is also a requirement for more locally tailored community initiatives to respond to need and better integration with the therapeutic supports which are often now difficult to access for children with additional needs.

“The County Childcare Committees should have a greater role and directly involve parents who have too little say in the evolution of the sector.”

Deputy Bruton oversaw the establishment of Fine Gael’s first Policy Lab to examine the issue of Care of the child earlier this year.

The Policy Lab group published a report based on the results of a survey of 2,500 people, in addition to input from over 150 participants and stakeholders from across the childcare sector.

Deputy Bruton concluded: “Our Policy Lab found parents are overstretched with little available choice, staff are often frustrated, and providers are uncertain of their future.

“The Government has demonstrated its clear determination to address these challenges. An important step must be to establish clear measures of well-being in early childhood, which every part of Government should take into account.”

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