Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Ceisteanna (1007)

Pearse Doherty


1007. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the reason a funding application by an organisation (details supplied) was refused to allow for an increase in support staff at the facility; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the decision to refuse the application has resulted in children that previously attended the facility no longer being able to do so owing to inadequate staffing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45140/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Officials from my Department contacted Pobal, who administer programme funding on the Department's behalf. Pobal have confirmed that there have been no unsuccessful applications for funding for the service in question for the 2019-20 programme year under the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), which supports the participation of children with additional needs in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) preschool programme.

AIM is limited to children who are ECCE age-eligible and are registered for the programme.

The case mentioned in the question relates to school-age childcare. AIM currently does not provide additional supports for children with disabilities to attend school-age childcare services.

My Department has made a commitment in First 5 , the Whole of Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families, to consider enhancements to, and/or extension of, AIM to, for example, all early learning and care services, all school-age childcare services and/or to children with additional needs other than a disability. AIM will commence its end of year 3 evaluation in the coming months and findings from this will provide information for future decisions on extension or reform of AIM.

In addition, officials from my Department recently carried out a public consultation on school-age childcare, focusing particularly on the development of comprehensive regulations and a national quality framework to support quality improvements in school-age childcare services. The findings from this consultation are currently being analysed.