Government must address ‘gaping holes’ in childcare system – McLellan
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Childcare, Sandra McLellan TD, has outlined her disappointment with a number of government proposals on childcare, saying that they do not meet the level of investment that is needed for a truly accessible and ‘Scandinavian’ style childcare system.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy McLellan said:
“This year’s budget, when looked at proportionately does very little to protect, and in my opinion, fails the most vulnerable. Serious investment is required in the social work sector to allow ratios to be brought down to more workable levels in the hope of producing a more efficient service and allowing those kids who are most at risk to be protected in as far as is humanly possible.
“I welcome the extension of the free preschool year but what about those children who are of ages ranging from zero to three? It is virtually impossible to expect someone to go back to work on a full time basis when so much of their wage would be spent on childcare. You speak about getting people to return to employment but the policies you implement make this very difficult to happen.
“While the additional funding allocated to the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme is welcome but is still a far cry away from the 0.8% of GDP which is the average across the OECD countries.
“If the Government is really committed to childcare and the aspiration of the Scandinavian Model, they need to address the very gaping holes and many questions that arise from the double-speak.”