Early Childhood Care & Education

Better Regulation, Pay and Conditions.

  • Establish a National Regulatory Body. Child-minding in Ireland is largely unregulated, and as recent scandals have revealed the Child and Family agency, Tusla is not fit for purpose. There is also no mechanism in place to ensure the provision of quality services. To improve standards in the industry, People Before Profit would establish a National Regulatory Body for Child Minders and After School Services.
  • Improve, qualifications, skills and training for Childcare professionals. Qualifications of childcare workers in Ireland need to be increased from level 5 through state support to reflect the importance and responsibility of their developmental role with children.
  • Unionise – Improve Pay and Conditions. Childcare professionals, predominantly women, are underpaid and undervalued. They are also poorly unionised. People Before Profit would look to unionise the industry and move pay towards the average industrial wage. This would involve working with the Association of Childhood Professionals who are currently looking to unionise the profession.

Parental Participation, Stay and Home Parents and Parental Leave.

  • Encourage parents to participate in the organization and structure of crèches. Parents are vital stakeholders who must be both consulted and included in the care and development of their children.
  • Support stay at home parents with proper access to advice and Public Healthcare Nurses. People Before Profit would do an audit of the Growing Child Programme, provided through Lifestart. This child development programme delivered through home-visitation to parents of children from birth up to pre-school or school entry is currently elective. We would make sure it is fit for purpose.
  • Improve access for children with special needs to childcare services. As in so many other areas children with special needs are being left behind in Irish society. In line with Special Needs Assistants in Schools there should be a system of Special Needs Assistants set up in the National Childcare System. This should involve further investment in providing LINC training. The Better Start Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) should also be assessed for efficacy and extended if appropriate.
  • Twelve Months Parental Leave. Ireland currently only offers mothers six months paid maternity leave. People Before Profit would extend this to 12 months to be used by either of the parents. Legislate to guarantee full salary during this period.