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'Childcare': Business or Profession? - April 2015

'Childcare': Business or Profession?A Start Strong conference in December 2014 saw the launch of our  report 'Childcare: Business or Profession? .

The report found that much greater levels of direct public investment are needed to ensure high quality early year care and education for all children. It also compared the Irish market for ‘childcare’ to other countries with market provision in a section written by Professors Helen Penn and Eva Lloyd from the International Centre for the Study of the Mixed Economy of Childcare, at the University of East London.

Read our 4 page Policy Brief 'Childcare' - Business or Profession? which provides a summary of the full report

Read our press release, "New report from Start Strong calls for professionalisation of 'childcare' sector"

Videos & Podcasts

Videos of speeches from the conference are available on our youtube page here.

Podcast of the speech by Professor Helen Penn.

Podcast of Panel 1: Questions and Answers Panel Discussion

Professor Helen Penn , ICMEC, University of East London; Professor Nóirín Hayes, School of Education, Trinity College Dublin; Ciairín de Buis , Director, Start Strong.

Podcast of Panel 2: A New Approach: Panel Discussion

Brian Lee, Tusla; Gary Ó Donnchadha & Pádraig MacFhlannchadha, Department of Education and Skills; Margaret Rogers, National Manager, National Early Years Quality Support Service.


 Read the speaker bios here. The full agenda of the day is available here.

Background to the Conference

Speaking in the Dáil on 29 May 2013, the day after the Prime Time investigation, A Breach of Trust, the Taoiseach said, "Child care is a profession.... I do not like to see this referred to as a business, a sector or an industry. Unfortunately for some, that is what it has turned into."

The quality of Ireland's early years services is very variable. Our market system has failed to deliver high quality across the board. This conference - and a research report launched on the day - asked what actions are needed to ensure that "childcare" is a profession and that all children have access to high quality early care and education.

Read the press release "New report from Start Strong calls for professionalisation of 'childcare' sector"

Read our summary of the conference and report findings

For further queries please contact Lorraine at

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