Inadequate Government plans to help parents with childcare costs will perpetuate underinvestment in early years’ care and education, while doing nothing to promote quality through the professionalisation of the sector, according to IMPACT.
In a recent submission on legislative plans for childcare support, the union says the State’s ‘affordable childcare scheme’ needs to be redesigned to “move towards a graduate-led workforce and support professionalism through higher wages with agreed salary scales as a condition of public funding.”
The union favours a cap on fees to ensure that parents get the benefit of payments under the scheme, but says this could only be introduced in parallel with significantly increased Government investment. It says ramped-up funding is needed to give all children access to high-quality early education.
Ireland’s State spending on childcare is way below the OECD average of 0.8% of GDP. IMPACT wants the Government to commit to reaching this level within five years, and get to 1% of GDP within ten.
IMPACT says all providers, including childminders, should be obliged to register with the children’s agency Tusla before they receive funding through the scheme, which helps parents with childcare costs.
“The Ombudsman for Children should be able to investigate complaints by, and on behalf of, children within State-supported or funded early education,” it says.
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