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Press release, 28/05/2014: One year on from Prime Time investigation into crèches, little has changed

children playing in a crecheDublin May 28th- Start Strong – a coalition of organisations and individuals seeking to advance children’s early care and education in Ireland - said today that hopes that the Prime Time investigation would lead to real change in the early years sector have not been met.

The Prime Time report, which was broadcast on this day last year, raised serious concerns about the level of care being offered to children. It showed scenes of toddlers being manhandled, shouted at and restrained for lengthy periods.

“One year ago today, the country was shocked by scenes of children being mistreated in crèches” said Ciairín de Buis, Director of Start Strong. “Despite this, very little has happened to improve the situation.”

Quality

“Parents here pay some of the highest costs for childcare in the world, but as Prime Time showed, it is no guarantee that they are getting the highest quality. No child should be in a poor quality service. The Government needs to invest more in our young children and their early education” said Ms de Buis.

The programme revealed disturbing figures that showed widespread breaches of regulations, insufficient inspections and a lack of follow-through on non-compliance.

Poor conditions

“The problem of low wages, poor working conditions and insufficient numbers of trained staff is still widespread and needs to be addressed” added Ms de Buis. “There are still areas without preschool inspectors and while all staff will be required to have a Level 5 qualification from September 2015, this is still far below what is considered internationally to be best practice.”

NEYS

Ireland’s first National Early Years Strategy is currently being developed to improve Ireland’s early care and education system. The new Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, has said it will be completed before the end of the year.

“We call on the Minister to publish a draft of the National Early Years Strategy to allow for consultation” added Ms de Buis. “We need leadership, political will and significant investment to bring about real change.”

/ends/

Contact

For more information contact: Tressan McCambridge, Communications Officer, Start Strong - 087 295 9344/01 662 4018 or Ms Ciairín de Buis, Director, Start Strong - 087 1207 103

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