Longford private childcare providers urged to attend national meeting in Athlone on Budget 2017 proposals

Alan Walsh

Reporter:

Alan Walsh

Email:

alan.walsh@longfordleader.ie

Longford private childcare providers urged to attend national meeting in Athlone on Budget 2017 proposals

Attendees at the first meeting of newly formed Private Early Education Providers.

Private Early Education Providers (PEEP), the independent representative members group of private childcare and early education providers, will hold a national meeting to discuss Budget 2017 proposals to introduce new government childcare schemes in September 2017. The meeting will take place in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, Co Westmeath on Saturday, November 12 at 10.30am.

Regina Bushell, PEEP Chairperson said, “I would strongly encourage private providers to attend the meeting if at all possible. Substantial changes to childcare provision and government funded childcare schemes were introduced under Budget 2017 that will have a very significant impact on all providers of childcare and early education across the country. It is imperative that our opinions on these changes are heard and understood if the new schemes are to be successful and sustainable.”

Regina continued, “For example, the second free pre-school year and the announcements of two new childcare schemes, the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme and the Universal Childcare Scheme, is welcome news for children and parents. However, this will put increased pressure on childcare providers to cater for resulting demand. As long as remuneration from government to providers remains low, providers will be unable to attract and retain the numbers of high calibre staff needed to make these schemes a success.”

She added, “The current capitation rates simply do not cover the costs incurred by providers to run such schemes. Like all businesses, childcare providers have a range of costs including maintenance, insurance, rates and salaries. Increasing the level of capitation to providers of ECCE and other government schemes must be reviewed as a matter of urgency in order to ensure the sustainability of these very popular initiatives.”

Regina concluded, “The government funded schemes involve a huge amount of administration and reporting – all of which is not paid for. Budget 2017 has made some attempt to rectify this by announcing an investment of €14.5million to pay for some ‘non-contact time’ on top of existingcapitation payments. This equates to a small step in the right direction but a lot more to do. Come along on November 12 to discuss these issues and others effecting the sector, and make your voice count!” 

The meeting is free to PEEP members. A fee of €25 applies to non-members to attend the meeting. Booking is available online at: https:// peepmakeyourvoicecount. eventbrite.ie

The full agenda for the meeting will be posted on the PEEP website four days prior to the meeting. Annual PEEP membership costs €100 which covers administration and marketing of the organisation.

PEEP was formed in May 2016 to represent the views of private providers in delivering childcare and early services under the governmentschemes. The organisation aims to ensure that members are informed about government policy and that providers have an independent voice at the table where decisions affecting the sector are made. PEEP holds a seat at the National Collaborative Forum for The Early Years Care and Education Sector with Minister Zappone. The ultimate goal of the group is the provision of high quality childcare right across the country in a manner that is sustainable and workable for all concerned.

For more information about PEEP visit www.peepirl.com or email peepireland@gmail.com

PHOTO CAPTION
Pictured at the first meeting of newly formed Private Early Education Providers in Sheraton Hotel, Athlone were front row l to r ; Deirdre Raleigh (Kids Cottage Westmeath), Margaret Seery (Rainbowland Childcare Offaly), Sonya Duggan (Kilminchy School House Laois) and Margaret Palmer Bergin (Childrens House Laois). Back: Mary Corr & Orla Cannaghan (Step By Step Longford), Mary Keaney and Shelley Belton (Scallywags Childcare Centre Westmeath). Photo by Shelley Corcoran