The Start Strong office is now closed
The Start Strong office is now closed. Our work will carry on in various ways into the future, but the organisation will be wound up over the summer.
Start Strong was set up to campaign for improved early years in Ireland. Having started out as the Irish Childcare Policy Network in 2004, we became Start Strong in 2009. In 2011 Atlantic Philanthropies agreed to continue funding us as a time limited campaign.
Since then, we have worked under our agreed timeframe of achieving our objectives before the general election. We believe that, in this time, we have made a real difference to young children’s lives.
Now that the election is over, it is time for our work to continue in a different guise.Click here to read our final report Start Strong 2009-2016.
We are delighted to announce that some of our work will continue through a newly created ‘early years’ position in the Children’s Rights Alliance. There is now an Early Years Manager based in the Children's Rights Alliance. Please contact Liz Kerrins (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Children's Rights Alliance if you have any questions.
Of course, we hope that you will continue to support the work, through active involvement and engagement with the Children’s Rights Alliance.
We are also delighted that Toby Wolfe, our Policy and Research Officer will be based in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for the next 2 years, working with their team on developing the Affordable Childcare Scheme.
Start Strong has worked hard to ensure children’s interests are at the heart of early years policy. We are proud of our achievements and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported our work over the years.
Our advocacy has led to increased Government recognition of the importance of early years and greater investment. This was reflected in the budget last year through the expansion of the free pre-school year and commitment to a single affordable childcare scheme as well as paid paternity leave.
Before that, we were very glad to be able to welcome many of the recommendations of the Report of the Interdepartmental Working Group (IDG): Future Investment in Childcare in Ireland. In particular, we welcomed its recommendation of income-related subsidies and ruling out tax credits to address the affordability of childcare.
It is also significant that all the main parties committed to quality, affordable childcare before the election. We were delighted to work with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Chambers Ireland on our election campaign. On Family Leave, our joint campaign was given a boost by the introduction of 2 weeks’ paid paternity leave from September. We wish the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the National Women’s Council of Ireland good luck, as they continue the campaign for paid parental leave.
We also welcome that Childminding Ireland will be working with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on how to progress regulation and better support childminders - something we have long advocated.
For more information on early years please contact Tanya Ward at the Children's Rights Alliance.