Coordinator of Longford County Childcare Committee, Lorraine Farrell
Longford County Childcare Committee (LCCC) has said the moves in Budget 2018 in the sector are positive steps in the right direction.
A full second year of ECCE free preschool was introduced alongside a 7% increase in capitation for Early Years providers
There will also be enhanced quality measures for inspections and sustainability.
Lorraine Farrell, Manager LCCC said the additional funding of €73m for children, youth services and families would bring the total investment by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to €1.38bn for 2018.
“This represents a very positive step in the right direction in ensuring access to high quality, affordable childcare and education,” she added.
“It provides a second year of ECCE free pre-school scheme, with an emphasis on quality, and also takes the first initial steps in recognising the importance of improved conditions for our Early Years workforce.”
Ms Farrell went on to say that while further investment in the sector was needed, it took a highly skilled and trained professional to adequately meet the vastly complex developmental needs of young children and their families.
She applauded the increased investment in early years for 2018 and is hopeful
that the current trend of increasing investment year on year will continue.”
Alongside the extension of ECCE, Minister Katherine Zappone announced that the capitation paid to Early Years providers for the delivery of ECCE would increase by 7% from September 2018.
The Minister said that she had listened to providers who told her that the existing capitation levels did not allow them pay their staff appropriately.
A total of €2.3m was also secured for a range of initiatives including to further enhance the Early Years Inspection regime and to further address sustainability concerns being expressed
by some community providers.
A total of €18m will be available in 2018 and thereafter to pay providers for the administration associated with these schemes and the ECCE scheme.