Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (41)

Mick Wallace


40 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 330 and 332 of 3 July 2012, when the inter-departmental sub-group on school age child care will report in view of the timeline outlined in her statement to Dáil Éireann of 18 April 2012 of having a credible, bankable commitment from the Government on the delivery of a Scandinavian style child care system by the time of this year’s budget; if she will engage in a consultation process with groups representing lone parents and other relevant organisations to discuss the proposals put forward by the inter-departmental sub-group; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34998/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The inter-departmental sub-group on school-age child care consists of representatives from the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs — which is the lead Department in relation to child care policy and provision — and the Department of Education and Skills. The role of the group is to explore the best possible model for enhancing the provision of school-age childcare to assist in meeting the childcare needs of the clients of my Department, including lone parents. The model in question will address the child care requirements of children aged between 7 and 12 (inclusive). The model will also address the school-age child care required during both the school-term and the school holidays.

Over the past few months, I and officials in my Department have met with groups representing lone parents and other relevant organisations to discuss their views on the changes to the One Parent Family Payment, which were enacted in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2012. My officials have also met with these groups to discuss their views on childcare provision. The views of the groups are being considered as part of the on-going work of the inter-departmental sub group on school-age childcare.

Once completed, the model, and accompanying proposals, will be submitted to Government for their consideration later this year.