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Childcare Services

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 June 2021

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ceisteanna (472)

Claire Kerrane

Ceist:

472. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the status of the review into structures of county childcare committees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29132/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

In 'First Five, the Whole of Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families', which was launched in November 2018, my Department committed to completing a comprehensive review of the operating model for Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) in this country. This includes, amongst other organisations, the 30 City/County Childcare Committees funded by my Department to act as its local agent in the delivery of the national early education and childcare programmes and the implementation of Government policy.

The ELC and SAC sector in Ireland has grown substantially in the past decade. The review's objective is to ensure that the operating model is fit for purpose to implement Departmental childcare policy relating to quality, affordability and access, to the scale and standards required in an evolving and expanding sector, with the citizens of Ireland at its heart as core beneficiaries.

The final operating system will support high quality, accessible and affordable ELC and SAC services to children and families through the efficient and effective administration of a number of programmes, schemes, quality initiatives, and other functions such a compliance and communications. This operating model will support service providers, operate transparently and accountably, provide value for money to the Exchequer and demonstrate good governance. The model will also enable appropriate linkages and effective working relationships with all other agencies and Departments charged with delivering better outcomes for children and families.

An independent external contractor has been engaged by my Department to undertake an analysis of the current landscape and consideration of options for a future operating model. In this regard the review will aim to explore a variety of options in relation to how best the ELC and SAC operating model can be overseen by my Department in the coming years.

I am pleased to report that this review is well underway, and is due to conclude in the coming months.

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