Budget 2022 must deliver for childcare providers - CSI
Childhood Services Ireland, the Ibec trade association representing childcare providers across the country, is calling on Government to prioritise childcare in Budget 2022 and ensure significant strives forward are made in addressing affordability, sustainability, and quality.
The childcare sector in Ireland has been chronically underfunded in the last decade despite recent investments from Government. The OECD average for State investment in childcare is 0.7% of GDP. State investment of 0.3% of GDP places Ireland well and truly at the bottom of the class. Affordability concerns for parents mean childcare is inaccessible for some families, whereas Early Years providers often subsidise the cost of childcare which is a wholly unsustainable situation. Furthermore, many staff are leaving the sector due to low wages which is impacting the quality of education and care.
Speaking today at the launch of Childhood Services Ireland’s Budget 2022 submission (see below), the Director of Childhood Services Ireland, Darragh Whelan said: “Childcare must be a top priority for the Government in Budget 2022. Immediate action is needed to ensure affordability improves for parents. Childcare may be an expensive service to operate, but this does not mean it has to be expensive for parents. With significantly improved universal subsidies, childcare will be accessible to a much wider group of families and will mean that parents will not have to make the hard choice between continuing their careers and undertaking family responsibilities.
“Achieving quality childcare in Ireland is intrinsic on having quality Early Years staff. Current State funding levels means staff wages are not reflective of the value of Early Years professionals and often lead to staff turnover issues. In the absence of improved State funding, increasing wages creates an extra cost for parents which is wholly undesirable. With the establishment of the Early Years Service Joint Labour Committee, the Government now have the opportunity to allocate funding to improve wages in the sector. It is imperative that Budget 2022 makes significant additional funding available that can be attributed towards wages in the sector.
“For too long have Early Years providers subsidised the cost of childcare and have operated on a shoestring due to low State investment. As a developed country, Ireland should be able to boast strong investment in Early Years at least in line with OECD averages. Doubling investment by 2028 is too little too late."