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Press release, 19/09/2014: Start Strong's Pre-Budget Submission calls for greater investment in young children in Budget 2015

Start Strong Pre Budget Submission 2015Dail chamber (photo by Tommy Kavanagh)

Dublin Sept 19th - Start Strong – a coalition of organisations and individuals seeking to advance children’s early care and education in Ireland – is calling on the government to prioritise young children in Budget 2015.

“Now is the time for the Government to plan for a secure, long-term recovery. To achieve this, investment in early care and education must be a priority” says Ciairín de Buis, Director of Start Strong.

“Cost-benefit analyses offer a clear economic rationale for public investment in early childhood. If we can give young children a good start in life, the benefits will last decades.” 

Ms de Buis was speaking at the launch of its Pre-Budget Submission at its office in Dublin. 

Quality matters

“Research shows that early care and education only benefits children when it's high quality. We need to ensure staff are appropriately qualified and the proper funding and supports are in place to ensure high standards.

We’re calling for a national audit of the quality of pre-school services – so we can properly assess the current standards of care and education and monitor the effectiveness of any quality improvements over time. We need to know what level of care and education our children are getting.”

Public investment

Start Strong's Pre-Budget Submission highlights that the level of public investment in early years services and supports in Ireland is well below the OECD average.

“When the Free Pre-School Year was introduced in 2010, the Government cut €320 million from the early years budget. If that whole sum were reinvested in early years services and supports, the investment level would still not reach the international average. Additional investment must start now and build over the years ahead.”

Affordability

The submission outlines a number of measures to make the cost of early care and education more affordable, especially to families with low incomes, while also ensuring it is high-quality.

The organisation is also calling for more resources for the Early Years Inspectorate and increased investment in the early years workforce to address the low pay and poor working conditions. 

/Ends/

Start Strong Pre-Budget Submission 2015

For more information please contact:

Ms Tressan McCambridge 087 295 9344 or Ms Ciairín de Buis 087 1207 103

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