Reilly Publishes Major New Childcare Report

Childcare

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly TD, has published a major report, which proposes how best to invest in childcare services over the coming years.
The report, prepared by an Inter-Departmental Group established by the Minister in January, puts forward options to enhance affordability for parents, improve the quality of services and outcomes for children, and promote greater accessibility in the sector.
Commenting on the report, Minister Reilly said: “Affordability, quality and accessibility are the big concerns for us all. This document offers a clear vision for future investment in early years and school-age services. It represents the most ambitious, detailed and costed plan for childcare ever produced by Government, and it follows a period of very productive consultation with parents, providers and the general public.”
“The purpose of this report is to ensure that any available extra funding is invested in a strategic manner that supports good outcomes for children and helps families to raise children to reach their full potential,” he said.
At the launch, Minister Reilly added: “As the economy improves, we now have opportunities for strategic investment that will help achieve better outcomes for children, offer greater supports to parents, improve quality, and upskill the sector.”
Among other things, the report provides costed options for the extension of paid parental leave in respect of children under the age of one, which could be shared between both parents. “All international evidence shows that children benefit from being cared for by their parents in the first year of their life,” Reilly continued.
Also detailed in the report, the extended ECCE scheme would offer longer coverage and last until primary school (up to a maximum age of five and a half years). Entry could be at any month between September and June, rather than September as at present. The report also has a range of proposals to ensure adequate supply of childcare facilities, with a greater geographical spread. It recommends work to establish the scope for using school buildings for after-school care. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs will explore the role that might be played by the youth sector in after-school provision.