Latest childcare plan includes creche fee support for stretched parents
The Government is considering a generous childcare package that includes extended parental leave, up to 100 days pre-school care and means tested financial support (paid directly to the supplier) for parents paying private creche fees.
According to a report unveiled yesterday, the raft of enhanced Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) facilities would be offered to families with children aged three and over.
Unveiling the proposal, which would extend parental leave from six months to 12 months and allow parents to share the second half of the paid leave, Minister for Children James Reilly said the plan is designed to improve the affordability of quality childcare, which has a knock-on effect, leading to lower crime rates and better health later in life.
No estimation of how long the plan might take to roll out was given, nor did the Minister suggest how it might be funded.
“This is not a big bang approach. It is predicated on what money is available at any given time.” he said.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed the proposal will be considered ahead of Budget 2015.
We won't be holding our breath with regards to the Scandinavian model of quality, subsidised childcare and afterschool care we were promised, but for today, this is a step in the right direction.