Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (851)

Denis Naughten


851. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will ensure the appointment of a facilitator by each county childcare committee to engage and assist community childcare groups to reconfigure their services to meet the changing needs of parents within their communities rather than face closure due to competition from other providers or changing demographics; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30838/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

My Department currently funds thirty City & County Childcare Committees (CCCs) across the country to assist in the ongoing delivery of early learning and care and school age childcare programmes. Each CCC has a number of DCYA funded staff.

The key objectives for the City/County Childcare Committees are agreed with my Department on an annual basis. One of these objectives is to identify community childcare groups that are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing sustainability challenges, and to intervene and provide support where this is required.

CCCs currently provide a number of sustainability supports to community childcare services, which are delivered in partnership with Pobal's Case Management team, under the direction of my Department. This can include the provision of expert guidance, identifying a service to Pobal where there is a requirement for targeted sustainability funding, and also assisting a service to review and reconfigure its operational or business model.

My Department has collaborated with CCCs in developing a suite of sustainability tools to assist this form of operational review, and has recently engaged in a nation-wide programme to train CCCs in their use. My Department also funded the distribution of the Managing Better series to community childcare services in early 2019. These booklets provide early learning and care and school age childcare services with valuable guidance in the areas of Good Governance, Financial Management, and HR.

Demand for early learning and care and school age childcare services continues to grow, with fewer vacancies across the system. This growing demand, together with the 117% increase in investment in the last 4 years, and the forthcoming introduction of the National Childcare Scheme, should enable services operate in a viable and sustainable manner once their business model is responsive to local need.