The City and County Childcare Committees (CCCs) were assigned by the National Childcare Strategy (2000) as the key local component in the development of a co-ordinated approach to quality childcare. There are 30 CCCs, located nation-wide, who are funded by my Department to provide support and guidance to local early learning and care (ELC) and school age childcare (SAC) service providers and to parents. CCCs act as the local agent of my Department in the coordination and delivery of the national early education and childcare programmes and the implementation of Government policy at a local level, and in facilitating and supporting the development of quality, accessible ELC and SAC services for the overall benefit of children and their parents.
In 'First Five, the Whole of Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families', my Department committed to completing a comprehensive review of the operating model for ELC and SAC in this country. This includes, amongst other organisations, the 30 CCCs.
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.
I am pleased to report that this review is due to conclude shortly. 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. This has involved significant stakeholder engagement, including with the 30 CCCs. An Oversight Group, chaired by my Department, has also been established and is meeting regularly.
I look forward to bringing a report to Government on the matter in the coming weeks.