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Press Release, 13/01/2014: Start Strong welcomes government action on ‘childcare’

Start Strong welcomes government action on childcare13 Jan 2015 – Start Strong - a coalition of organisations and individuals seeking to advance children’s early care and education in Ireland - has welcomed the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs James Reilly’s announcement of a new government plan to tackle the high cost of ‘childcare’.

Ciairín Buis, Director of Start Strong said: “We absolutely need to reduce the high cost of ‘childcare’ for parents and the fact that a plan is being put in place is very welcome. However we need a plan that will also benefit children.

Children only benefit from ‘childcare’ it it’s of high quality. But we know from the RTE programme ‘A Breach of Trust’ that the quality here is very variable. Any plan on ‘childcare’ needs to address both affordability and quality.”

Ms de Buis was responding to an article in today's Irish Independent which outlines a Government plan to support 'childcare' costs and reduce pressure on families.

New model

“We need a new model of childcare in this country. One that sees early years services as providing a public service and has the necessary investment from the government.

We need to be spending a lot more on our young children but the investment needs to be directly into early years services so we can ensure high quality in those services and at the same time reduce fees to parents."

Tax credits

“Tax breaks won’t do anything to improve the quality of early years services.” added Ms de Buis. “They also won’t help those on very low wages or families who can’t afford to pay ‘childcare’ costs upfront.”

Ireland spends comparatively very little on early year care and education. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average is 0.7% of GDP compared to an Irish spend of less than 0.2%.

“As the economy begins to move out of recession now is the time for the Government to start increasing investment in our young children.” said Ms de Buis.


For more information please contact
Ms Tressan McCambridge 01 662 4018 or 087 295 9344 or Ms Ciairín de Buis 087 1207 103

Notes to Editor

•  Read a one page summary of our policy brief, “The Double Dividend: Childcare that’s Affordable and High Quality”. The brief is a summary of our submission to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on its review of funding schemes for early care and education. Both documents set out policy proposals on how the Government can achieve a “double dividend” of making early year care and education more affordable while at the same time raising its quality.

• An OECD study of more than 20 countries’ systems for early care and education found that introducing tax credits for childcare was NOT the most effective way to achieve the aim of making early care and education services more affordable and high quality.

• A new report from Start Strong, ‘Childcare’: Business or Profession? concludes that early years services need to be seen as providing a public service, not as private businesses. The report includes a research paper “How can the Government ensure that early care and education is of high quality in a market system? Learning from international experience” by Professor Helen Penn and Professor Eva Lloyd from the International Centre for the Study of the Mixed Economy of Childcare, University of London.

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