Limerick childhood carers call for five year plan

A LEADING children’s advocacy agency, which has 137 members in Limerick, has called for a five-year plan in Early Years and School Age Care settings.

Early Childhood Ireland has reiterated its call on the Government to transform the Early Years and School Age Care system by providing an ambitious five-year investment plan.

Frances Byrne, Director of Policy at Early Childhood Ireland, said: “We welcome the commitments made by the Government last year to transform early years provision in Ireland, and the significant steps taken since last year’s Budget announcement, but what is needed now is a giant leap forward”.

“The Government is on track to reduce parents’ fees in Budget 2023. There’s no doubt that any measure which will reduce financial pressure on families is a welcome one, but what is the overall plan for investment and how are we going to get there?

“There has been progress with the introduction of Core Funding, along with the Employment Regulation Order, which has established minimum pay scales for staff under the new Together for Better funding model, but we’re urging the Government to announce a five-year plan to match the commitment it has already made to bring funding close to €1 billion by 2028.”

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Early Childhood Ireland says the key elements of the plan should include an increase in Core Funding which takes account of both inflation and any agreed sector pay scales, increases in the National Childcare Scheme, an extension of the Access and Inclusion Model beyond the Early Childhood Care and Education scheme, and the implementation of the first phase of the National Childminding Action Plan and of Nurturing Skills.