Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Ceisteanna (652)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

652. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of children on waiting lists for year 1 ECCE places in counties Meath, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow and Dublin by local electoral area or town in each year since 2015, in tabular form. [52861/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Pobal publishes the Early Years Sector Profile on an annual basis on behalf of my Department and it provides extensive information to inform policy making.  I launched the 2018/2019 Sector Profile on 16 December.

The Sector Profile includes data on the number of children on service providers' waiting lists. This data is organised on a county basis and is not broken down by  local electoral area or town.  The data indicates waiting lists for all  childcare services and therefore it is not possible to isolate numbers on waiting lists for ECCE services only.  

It is very important to note that waiting list data may not equate to unmet demand, as parents may have their children on a waiting list for more than on service.   

The table below set out the numbers on waiting lists for all services / all age groups, on a county basis ( this includes, for example, ECCE, school age childcare and full day care).  

Programme year

Meath

Kildare

Louth

Wicklow

Dublin - Dublin City

Dublin - Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

Dublin - Fingal

Dublin - South Dublin

2015/16

369

357

460

325

2,813

789

790

560

2016/17

320

454

464

225

3,807

1,241

1,024

1,028

2017/18

396

350

238

231

3,492

880

1,076

639

2018/19

458

694

415

245

4,089

892

1,698

1,104

 

My Department funds staffed Childcare Committees in every county to assist in the delivery of Government objectives related to childcare. These organisations monitor capacity in their area and broadly it has been established that there are sufficient places to deliver ECCE. This is further assured by the fact that on the journey towards the provision of two full years of ECCE, when there were three entry points in September, January and April, 118,000 ECCE places existed at the peak enrolment period of April. Since then, on reversion to two full years of ECCE and one single entry point in September, the number of children nationally attending ECCE has reduced, leaving a surplus of ECCE places. many of these have we understand been converted into other types of part-time or full-time service.  

There may however be localised areas where parents have to travel further to access ECCE.  In such instances, we ask parents to alert their local Childcare Committee ( contact details available at myccc.ie).  

My Department has had an unprecedented increase of 141% for early learning and care and school age childcare in the past five budgets. This extra investment has supported an over doubling of capacity in the sector, including for the ECCE programme.