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Press Release, 01/12/2014: Ministers to attend conference on the quality of ‘childcare’ in Ireland

'Childcare'; Business or Profession?Dublin 1st December - A conference on ‘childcare’ and whether it should be a business or profession will take place in Dublin this week.

Both the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly T.D and the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan T.D. will attend.

The conference is being organised by Start Strong – a coalition of organisations and individuals seeking to advance children’s early care and education in Ireland.

“Unlike our schools, early year services are expected to be run as businesses and receive little public investment” says Ciarín de Buis, Director of Start Strong.

“While there are many excellent crèches and pre-schools, we also know from the RTE investigation, A Breach of Trust that the quality of early year care and education here is variable. We’re asking should ‘childcare’ services be run as a business and is this approach in the best interest of young children.”

The RTE programme was broadcast in May last year and showed disturbing scenes of children being shouted at and manhandled. It prompted outrage from the public and promises of reform from politicians. Despite this, little action has been taken by the government. 

Children

“We need to put children at the centre of our early years policies. We know that many staff are working for low pay and in poor working conditions and that the regulatory system has failed to ensure that minimum standards are met in all services. This cannot be good for children” added Ms de Buis.

Report

The findings of a research report on the market for ‘childcare’ here will also be revealed on the day. It includes a paper commissioned from Professors Helen Penn and Eva Lloyd from the University of East London comparing the Irish market to other countries with private provision of ‘childcare’. It also contains an overview of early years services in Ireland, including interviews with managers of crèches and preschools, carried out by Start Strong.

The conference will take place on Wednesday December 3rd.

For more information call  01 662 4021 or 087 295 9344