Sinn Féin spokesperson for Children Kathleen Funchion TD has welcomed news that over 90% of Early Years and Childcare providers have agreed to freeze fees and sign up to the Government’s new core funding model.
Teachta Funchion said:
“News that 92% of Early Years and Childcare providers have agreed to sign up to the Government’s new core funding model shows tremendous goodwill on the part of services throughout the State.
“This shows that despite the significant cost of living pressures facing many providers, they are steadfastly committed to providing high quality early years education and childcare to thousands of families at an affordable level.
“I am calling on the Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman, to give a guarantee that providers won’t be left high and dry as costs continue to rise. And a commitment to revisit the funding as staff retention and recruitment, sky-rocketing operational costs and increasing paperwork continue to create severe pressure points for many providers.
“I know personally that many owners/ managers are opting to reduce their own salaries to supplement rising operational costs within their businesses.
“In the past decade the Early Years Education and Childcare workforce have continued to further their qualification levels. This is evident in Pobal’s recent sector report, which shows 97% of staff have a qualification of NFQ level 5 or above.
“It is also vital that the 8% who have not opted for the scheme are contacted by the Department as a priority to see what can be done to encourage them to participate.
“During the first wave of Covid-19 3,900 services signed up to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (TWSCS) and subsequent Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), demonstrating that they wanted to retain their highly qualified workforce.
“Despite today’s welcome news, I strongly believe that there is an alternative for our childcare and early years sector, and I will continue to advocate and push the government to keep this issue top of the political agenda and move Ireland to a publicly funded model.”