Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Children Robert Troy TD is warning of a childcare crisis unless the issue of affordability is tackled. The Longford-Westmeath Deputy hosted a consultation session on early childhood care and education last week to engage with parents and practitioners to discuss the challenges facing the sector.
Deputy Troy commented, “Parents across the country are being crippled by rising childcare costs, with an average family with two children forking out €16,500 a year. These high costs are forcing some parents to give up work because they can no longer afford the childcare bills. New childcare models must be examined to cater for parents on low incomes who do not qualify for the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme. What emerged during the course of the session was that parents want to see more flexibility around the Free Pre-School Year hours, as well as more after-school care options.
“Childcare providers are striving to provide quality and affordable childcare options but feel strangled by the levels of bureaucracy involved, and they claim that the costs involved in maintaining a regulated service are not recognised. They’re warning that unless these areas are addressed the sector will be unsustainable into the future.
“Last week’s meeting was extremely well attended and a range of policy options were introduced and discussed. I want to thank all those who attended the meeting for their contributions. I will be examining these proposals further for inclusion in an updated edition of the Fianna Fáil early childhood care and education discussion paper “Investing in Tomorrow””.