Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte says the Government needs to outline how it plans to recruit additional staff to roll out the new Access and Inclusion Model for children with disabilities before the programme begins in September. She has also called on Ministers Zappone and McGrath to reveal how much funding has been allocated to ensure that the scheme is fully implemented.
Deputy Rabbitte commented, “While I welcome every initiative to improve pre-school access for children with disabilities, I am concerned that the plan unveiled today is short on essential details. When I questioned the Taoiseach in the Dáil today about recruitment numbers and the amount of capital funding that is being allocated to the scheme, he was only able to tell me that “those matters will be discussed during the course of the legislation”.
“Access to education is an area that is very close to my heart and I want to ensure that initiatives which would see more children with disabilities getting places in pre-school are progressed without delay. However, there needs to be a co-ordinated approach to ensure that the funding, staff and resources are made available ahead of the places coming on stream in September.
“According to the Ministers, additional capitation will be provided to pre-schools, however no figures have been given. This is not the time for kite-flying and more pie in the sky promises, we need to ensure that these programmes are properly funded and can be rolled out across the board.
“I am calling on Ministers Zappone and McGrath to ensure that all the necessary resources are in place so that these pre-school initiatives can begin, as scheduled, in September”.