Childcare organization calls for additional budget of €191 million for the sector

The Federation of Early Childhood Providers (FECP) has called for €191 million in additional funding for the sector in the 2023 budget to “stabilize the industry and improve outcomes for children, parents, staff and providers”.

Last year, Children Secretary Roderic O’Gorman announced what he described as a “transformative” €183 million childcare package, but the FECP said the government “needs to recognize how far its current commitments are from the UNICEF target of 1 per cent of the GDP are removed”.

With 1,400 members, FECP represents over a third (34 percent) of the independent providers serving 55,000 children and their families.

In its pre-budget proposal, the organization said an additional €80 million would be needed for next year’s Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) program, “which would benefit 90 percent of services nationwide.”

The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) also needs an additional €31 million in 2023 to allow children with additional needs to fully participate and enjoy the same benefits.

The FECP has called for an allocation of €100,000 for a study and incentives to diversify the sector and include “more men and minorities”.

“The gender and diversity imbalance in the industry is not a good model for future generations; a cultural shift is required to reflect society and create opportunity,” the filing reads.

“Staff turnover of 19 percent is problematic; disruptive to employees, children and their families, and providers. Improving pay and contracts is imperative and would send a long-awaited message of appreciation to a valuable and highly skilled workforce.”

The organization said the government must protect “affordability” and parental choice by committing to slowing the trend of service closures.

It has also called for the abolition of commercial tariffs for childcare providers.

FECP national chair Elaine Dunne said the government has a duty to look after the youngest members of our society and support their parents.

“The problems and solutions have been spelled out for some time. However, the question remains as to how committed the government is to training and supporting our young people and their parents who wish to work,” she said.

“The minister’s pledge to reach €1 billion a year in spending by 2028 will still leave spending at just 0.16 per cent of GDP even at this stage.

“The only source of income for ECCE preschools is government funding.

Providers are prohibited from charging parents for this component of the service, so the per capita rate must be increased to avoid closures. Larger childcare facilities also cannot pass on full-time fee increases to already overwhelmed parents.

“We propose a minimalist approach of frontloading spending increases to stabilize the sector immediately. Also, the delivery mechanisms for early years funding are complicated, incoherent and serve no one,” claims the FECP Chair.

https://www.independent.ie/news/childcare-organisation-calls-for-additional-191-million-budget-funding-for-sector-41964581.html Childcare organization calls for additional budget of €191 million for the sector

Fry Electronics Team

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