Tuesday 21st May 2019
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, today launched a public and stakeholder consultation process on future regulations and a quality improvement framework for school-age childcare.
The numbers of families accessing school-age childcare has seen significant growth and development in recent years. It is expected that the families of more than 21,000 school going children will benefit from subsidies through the National Childcare Scheme when it starts later this year. In addition, €3.45m in capital funding has been invested since 2017 to create an additional 6,131 school-age childcare places.
Last December Minister Zappone signed Regulations which provided for the registration of school-age childcare services. These initial Regulations came into force in February, enabling services that register with Tusla to take part in the National Childcare Scheme when it opens.
The National Childcare Scheme will provide financial support towards the cost of childcare for parents availing of these services.
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs is now seeking to build on this work by developing comprehensive Regulations and a quality improvement framework. This work will build on draft quality standards that were prepared by a national working group in 2018 and which are being published as part of the public consultation.
Launching the consultation, Minister Zappone invited everyone to share their views.
The Minister stated, ‘Achieving the goal of quality accessible affordable childcare means we must listen to the voices of children, parents and providers. School Age Childcare is a reality for many families. We have made much progress, but school-age childcare is still in the early stages of development. This consultation is a great opportunity to hear the views of all concerned, so we can ensure the 117% increase in Government investment secured since 2015 continues to deliver the best possible benefits for all. The forthcoming National Childcare Scheme marks a major milestone in our efforts. By ensuring all voices are heard we can complete the journey of transformation from having one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world into the best.”
From now until early July, interested parties and members of the public, including children, will be able to make a submission or fill out an online survey available on the Department’s website.
On June 20th, the Department will also host an Open Policy Debate on the future of school-age childcare to which key stakeholders, including school-age childcare providers and groups representing children, parents and practitioners will be invited.
A consultation with school-age children was carried out as part of the development of the Action Plan on School Age Childcare, published in 2017.