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Government changes to childcare an admission of failure – Ó Caoláin

19 December, 2007

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health & Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that the changes to the Communuity Childcare Subvention Scheme announced by Minister for Children Brendan Smith TD are an admission that the scheme as originally framed would fail and has had to be changed significantly.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The Government failed to consult widely with the community childcare sector when it framed the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme (CCSS). As a result it produced a very flawed scheme, causing widespread concern in the sector which had to mobilise to demand its postponement pending fundamental changes. The significant changes now announced by Minister Brendan Smith are an admission that the scheme as originally framed could not succeed and would fail in its objective of helping disadvantaged children and parents.

"While the announced changes represent some improvement they do not go far enough. There is a lack of clarity about how 'low income' will be defined for the purposes of subventing low income parents. The subvention of €45 per week is itself totally inadequate.

"The reality is that the only scheme that can guarantee to meet the childcare needs of all children and parents would be one based on the real value and the real cost of childcare. The Government has shown that it has no intention of moving towards such a system but pressure should be maintained as, in the case of the CCSS, such pressure has led to changes in some of the worst features of the scheme." CRÍOCH

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