Early Childhood Ireland report reveals extent of Childcare crisis - Kathleen Funchion TD
Commenting today on Early Childhood Ireland’s launch of its report “Doing the Sums: The Real Cost of Providing Childcare”, Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Childcare Kathleen Funchion said the report substantiated all previous calls from the sector for the need for substantial investment into Childcare and into the sector’s infrastructure.
“I want to congratulate Early Childhood Ireland on this excellent report which couldn’t be more timely in the lead up to Budget 2017. The report, which is the first ever comprehensive national review of the cost of running childcare services of varying sizes, both rural and urban, community based and private, concluded that the direction of childcare is towards the ‘free preschool’ years (ECCE) dominating the sector at the expense of early years care for the under 3s. This is incredibly worrisome. The implications of a decrease in non-ECCE services for children is huge, particularly for women. The reality is, a lack of childcare services for the under 3s is an immediate barrier for women returning to the workforce.
“The report also lists a series of issues which if not tackled immediately, could find the childcare sector in an even more critical state. It cited that salaries and wages of are the most significant costs facing services, yet, workers are on minimum or below minimum wages. This is due to substandard investment into the subsidisation of childcare by this Government.
“The figures are laid out for all to see in black and white. Our childcare system is in crisis. Government cannot shy away from the evidence shared today. As indicated, Childcare is high cost for parents and low cost in wages for workers in Ireland. It's completely unsustainable.
“A radical new approach is needed. The first step should be a commitment by Government to invest substatially into Childcare infrastructure in Budget 2017.”