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Press Release, 07/05/2015: New model of ‘childcare’ needed, says Start Strong to Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children

Boy readingSpeaking to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children  this morning, Ciairín de Buis, Director of Start Strong, said,

“We need a new model of ‘childcare’ in this country. One that results in more affordable fees for parents but also ensures high quality in our pre-schools so children benefit. Parents here pay some of the highest costs in the world for ‘childcare’. But the high price does not guarantee high quality. It’s not good enough”

“Currently childcare here is run on a ‘market’ model with very little public investment. This results in high fees for parents and variable quality. We need to start seeing early care and education as a public service and invest accordingly – just like we do with our schools.”

Ireland currently invests just 0.2% GDP on pre-school services. The OECD average is 0.8% GDP.

Children first

“The best model of ‘childcare’ is to directly invest in pre-school services, subsidising ‘childcare’ places so parents pay less. And by making the public funding conditional on high-quality we can make sure children benefit too’ added Ms de Buis.

Ms de Buis was speaking to the Oireachtas Committee on how to develop quality and affordable ‘childcare’.

“Children's interests must come first in designing childcare policy as children only benefit from early care and education when it is high quality. High quality requires low staff turnover, low ratios, qualified staff and child-led play based learning.” added Ms de Buis.

An inter-departmental group is currently looking at the ‘childcare sector’ and will report back to James Reilly, the children’s minister, with recommendations by the summer.


Ms Ciairín de Buis is available for comment.

Please contact Tressan on 087 295 9344 for more information

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