I can confirm that my Department received the Budget 2020 submission from Early Childhood Ireland.
In First 5, the Whole of Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families, which I published last year, my Department committed to conducting a review of the operating system and structures which deliver a range of childcare schemes and initiatives at national and local level. This will include consideration of the role of Pobal, 30 City and County Childcare Committees and various National Voluntary Childcare Organisations.
The terms of reference for this review are currently in development and the project will be progressed in the coming months. The review will give due consideration to the strategic goals of Government as laid out in 'First 5', an analysis of the situation as it currently stands, as well as contributions such as the Early Childhood Ireland budget submission. This review is critical as Government continues to invest significantly in early learning and care and school age childcare as evidenced by the massive increase in investment in the sector over the last 4 years.
The outcome may be a recommendation for a new early years agency as advocated for by ECI, or for one of a range of other options.
My Department is committed to developing a national operating system that will effectively and efficiently deliver a range of DCYA schemes and initiatives to improve assess to high quality and affordable early learning and care and school age childcare services, that will make the best use of Exchequer funding, and that will deliver the best possible outcomes for children and their families.