Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Ceisteanna (818)

Kathleen Funchion


818. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if there is a taskforce for the development of the early years strategy; and if so, the detail of the members of the taskforce, their title and their organisation. [11185/17]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Ireland’s first ever Early Years Strategy is being progressed by my Department. This Strategy, which is expected to be published later this year, will take a whole-of-Government approach outlining Ireland’s vision for the coming decade in seeking to improve the lives of children from birth to 6 years. It will address a range of issues affecting children in their first years of life such as child health and well-being, parenting and family support, learning and development and play and recreation.

The Strategy is taking account of the Right from the Start, the Report of the Expert Advisory Group on the Early Years Strategy and the reports of two Inter-Departmental Groups established and chaired by my Department in 2015, specifically the Report on Future Investment in Childcare in Ireland and the Report on Supporting Access to the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme for Children with a Disability. Membership and affiliation of the Expert Advisory Group on the Early Years Strategy is presented below.

The Strategy is also being informed by bilateral discussions with the relevant Government Departments and by a range of stakeholder consultations, including one undertaken with children aged 3-5 and an Open Policy Debate held on in December 2016. The Open Policy Debate brought together over 80 experts, practitioners and stakeholders from the fields of health, education, early childhood care and education, child protection, housing, community, social protection and social inclusion. Participants included parents’ organisations, statutory and non-statutory organisations and advocacy groups, trade union and business representatives, and Government departments. In addition, in the coming months and before publication, my Department intends to consult with the various structures created to implement Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures, including the Consortium, the Advisory Council and the Children and Young People's Services Committees (CYPSC ) National Steering Group.

Membership and affiliation of the Expert Advisory Group on the Early Years Strategy at the time Right from the Start was published

Eilish Hennessy, Chair, National University of Ireland, Dublin

Catherine Byrne, The Atlantic Philanthropies

Siobhan Feehan, Deansrath Family Centre, Clondalkin

Fergus Finlay, Barnardos

Irene Gunning, Early Childhood Ireland

Prof. Nóirín Hayes, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT)

Fiona McDonnell, National Specialist, Early Years Inspectorate

Roisin McGlone, Sligo Institute of Technology

Breda McKenna, Monaghan County Childcare Committee

Patricia Murray, Childminding Ireland

Fr. Gerard O’Connor, St. Ultan’s, Cherry Orchard

Patricia O’Dwyer, Public Health Nursing Consultant

Biddy O’Neill, Health Service Executive

Kathryn O’Riordan, Cork City Childcare Committee

Thomas Walsh, Primary District Inspector, Department of Education and Skills

Toby Wolfe, Start Strong