Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children, Robert Troy TD, has expressed his concern about the ill-thought out consequences of 8-key child protection recommendations contained in a Government report commissioned after last year’s RTE Prime Time programme ‘A Breach of Trust’.
The documentary revealed the physical and emotional abuse of young children at a number of crèches and cast a spotlight on the lack of Government regulation in the area.
Deputy Troy commented: “It is exactly 12 months since the nation was shocked by the cruel images of young children being subjected to physical and emotional abuse at a number of state-funded crèches. The ‘A Breach of Trust’ programme highlighted the need for the Government to implement immediate and wide-ranging measures to protect the country’s children.
“While I welcomed the Government’s 8-point Early Years/ Childcare Quality Agenda, I was concerned that without adequate resources and follow-through from the Government, these targets would not be met.
“The Early Years strategy, which was announced nearly three years ago, has still not been completed. There will be little progress on increasing and improving standards without a fully completed Early Years Strategy.
“I also have considerable reservations about the inconsistency of standards across the early childcare service. Staff working with children aged 3 and under are ignored in the new training fund. By only including staff that work in the pre-school room, it will also lead to inconsistent levels of quality within and across early childcare services.
“Even simple issues like updating the registration system for all pre-school services has not been fully implemented. It begs the question of whether the continued use of the old notification system covering services from the start of this year is breaching legislation.”
Deputy Troy also highlighted the fact that there has been no progress made on a number of priority areas.
“There has been no strategy and no resources set aside for children with additional needs, this has to be addressed as a matter of urgency. There has also been no movement on updating Garda vetting procedures.
“The Government needs to give serious priority to the early childhood sector. One year on, little or no meaningful progress has been made and last night’s RTE programme is a stark reminder that we cannot be complacent.”