The Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, Roderic O’Gorman TD, today announced a new programme of consultation on the future early learning and care and school-age childcare workforce and a future funding model for the sector.
In line with commitments in the First 5 strategy and commitments set out in the Programme for Government, the process to develop a Workforce Development Plan and to develop a new Funding Model commenced in 2019. Both reform initiatives will be informed by an inclusive consultation and engagement process, which begins today. Announcing the programme of consultation, Minister O’ Gorman said:
“I am delighted that work is steadily progressing on a Workforce Development Plan and a new Funding Model. Both are substantial reform initiatives committed to in the First 5 strategy and in the new Programme for Government. These reforms are necessary to ensure high quality, affordable and accessible services for children over the next decade.
“Although the original plans for consultation could not go ahead for public health reasons, we have found other ways to consult parents, providers, practitioners, and other stakeholders. I encourage all interested parties to take part in this consultation and to express their views on these important issues of future funding and the future workforce.
“I hope that this consultation can deliver a meaningful and lasting dialogue about these critical issues as we work to improve the early learning and care and school-age childcare sector for the benefit of children and families, providers, practitioners and wider society.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, original consultation plans, which included large county level or regional gatherings of providers, practitioners and parents were cancelled. However both the Funding Model Expert Group, and the Workforce Development Plan Steering Group and Stakeholder Group, remain committed to ensuring that their work is informed by the views of parents, providers, staff and other stakeholders within the sector. To this end, a new programme of consultation has been scheduled for the coming months.
Separate calls for submissions on the Workforce Development Plan and the new Funding Model are now open. All interested parties are invited to submit to each call using the links provided below. The closing date for submissions is 2 October 2020.
A national survey of households with children under 15 also gets underway this week. The survey, which is being undertaken by Ipsos MRBI, seeks to identify, from the point of view of parents/guardians, the key issues to be addressed in the development of the new funding model.
A series of thematic online consultation events with providers, practitioners, parents and other key stakeholders will take place over September and October. Further information on how to register for and participate in these events will be released in the coming weeks.
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