Tuesday 23rd January 2018
· Huge progress as families of 66,000 children receive extra supports
· Legislation to commence second stage imminently
· IT infrastructure tender request to issue
· Interim measures to remain in place for term start in Sept 2018
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, will tomorrow (Wed 24th January 2018) provide an update to TDs and Senators on the continuing transformation of Irish childcare – from one the most expensive systems in the world into the best. During an appearance before the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs, Minister Zappone will outline that the families of 66,000 children (estimated 95% of eligible children) are receiving the extra supports which started in September.
The Minister will also confirm that the legislation which will provide the legal foundation for a new Affordable Childcare Scheme will commence second stage in the Oireachtas on 31st January.
The development of a new IT system will also advance with a request for tender to be published in the coming days. Minister Zappone will outline that as this system continues to be put in place that the interim measures which have already been delivering benefits for families will remain in place for this coming September.
Speaking ahead of the Oireachtas hearing the Minister said:
“This is by any standards a significant Government project. The steps we are taking now will benefit Irish families for generations to come. We simply cannot afford to get this wrong.
I look forward to going into more details with members of the Committee. As Minister I want to acknowledge their support for our work as we negotiate legal, technical and data protection hurdles which must be crossed.
At this stage I feel it is also important to communicate to Childcare Providers that the interim measures will remain in place this September and until everything is in place to get this project right. This notification will allow providers to prepare for the new childcare term. To this end, I plan to issue a notice to all providers tomorrow.
The transformation of Irish childcare is well underway. Years of underinvestment are being reversed. The first big steps have been taken. There can be no going back.”