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Government must provide for rolling enrolment in childcare scheme – Ó Caoláin

11 January, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called on the Government to scrap Wednesday’s deadline for enrolment of children under the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme given that tens of thousands of eligible families have not enrolled their children because the scheme has been so poorly advertised and promoted.

He said:

“If the Minister for Children Barry Andrews maintains Wednesday’s deadline for enrolment of children under the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme then tens of thousands of families will lose out. This scheme has been poorly advertised and promoted. The knowledge of its existence is simply not out there in the wider community.

“The Minister should now provide for proper promotion of the scheme and for rolling enrolment so that parents can enrol their children when they are ready to do so.

“I said last May that the announcement by the Government of this Early Childhood Care and Education scheme had been ill-explained and was unlikely to be in place for the target date of the start of 2010. This has proved to be the case.

“The announcement of the scheme in 2009 accompanied one of the Government’s many savage cuts – the withdrawal of the Early Child Care Supplement which was supposed to make up for the very poor State provision of child care. Sinn Féin, over a series of pre-budget submissions, had argued that Government needs to properly address the clear requirement of State-provided early child care. Time after time, regrettably, the Government has failed to heed that appeal and the appeals of many non-governmental organisations which have been lobbying over many years.

“We now have this latest addition to the tattered patchwork of child care provision in this State. In place of that patchwork, we need a new approach based on the rights of children to the best care and on the needs of parents for adequate child care so that they can avail of their rights to education, training and employment to sustain themselves and their families.” ENDS

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