Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Ceisteanna (224)

Anne Rabbitte


224. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the steps her Department takes to monitor capacity within the Early Childhood Care and Education, ECCE, system. [18150/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs monitors ECCE capacity through several reporting mechanisms. Primarily, Pobal - in their capacity as administrators of the ECCE programme - provide a comprehensive annual overview of the Early Years Sector and report their findings through the Early Years Sector Profile report. This report provides an accurate overview of childcare places regionally and nationally in three categories; namely, the number of children enrolled on ECCE, the number of children on a waiting list for ECCE (if any) and the number of vacant places by Service Provider. In addition, both Pobal and the DCYA Operations team collect and review statistical data regarding the take up of ECCE places, on a weekly basis, while the Department of Education and Skills also provides my Department with demographic information to assist in the identification of potential demand pressure points.

My Department has considered the available information and is satisfied ECCE provision will be sufficient for the 2017-2018 programme year. ECCE providers have catered for over 121,968, children for this period, and while there can be pressures in some immediate localities; all eligible children have been catered for. We also work very closely with the local area CCCs, and to date no shortage of places has been reported.

Finally, it is worth noting that my Department provided €8.4 million of funding in 2017 through the Early Years Capital Programme. This programme assisted in alleviating pressures in respect of the availability of ECCE places, in certain areas, through the funding of expansion projects.