Childcare system is ‘broken’

THE pre-school childcare industry is in “crisis”, according to Federation of Early Childhood Providers Chairperson Elaine Dunne.

Elaine told the Dundalk Leader that more than 260 service providers are planning to quit the industry over a controversial funding model for services.

“The new funding model has failed. Some got a small amount in new care funding but many got nothing,” she said.
“You have to take inflation into account. Everything has gone up including rent and electricity bills.

“Wages are also going to change. That’s all happening and the Government is not renumerating the sector enough to give viability.”

The figure of 260 service providers who are planning to shut their doors next year comes from a survey of more than 1,093 early childhood providers.
The figure of 260 service providers who are planning to shut their doors next year comes from a survey of more than 1,093 early childhood providers.

The survey focussed on the Government’s new core funding model for the wholly-State funded Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) system.

“There are two reasons why the service providers are not closing this year. The first reason is that they have already promised parents that they would take their children,” said Elaine.

“The second reason is that they have to get money to pay for staff redundancies. In the survey, 260 said that they are planning to close next year but I believe the figure nationwide is higher than that.”

She added: “It’s really hard to get staff too. It’s a massive issue affecting the industry. It’s very tough.

“There will be a massive shortage of places in childcare if those services close. It will cause serious trouble.
“I hope the Government does something to address the crisis. We can’t have those services closing down”

Elaine continued: “Why are we not looking after our children, the most vulnerable in our society?
“Providers are so stressed out. The Government has to do something. They need a reality check.”

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