Childcare 101 – Government must Prioritise Childcare Provision as a Downturn-Buster
(Dublin, Monday 7 April 2014) One Family – Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families in Ireland today – outlines the three major reasons that provision of affordable, accessible childcare is a necessity if Ireland is to make a full economic recovery soon. A new report due for release by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will show that a family in Ireland with two children spends 40% of its average wage to meet childcare costs. Ireland is one of the most expensive countries worldwide for childcare services, second only to the US, and this is financially crippling and impeding low income and one-parent families from successfully moving into or staying in employment.
ONE: The rising participation of women in paid work has heightened demands for affordable, high-quality child care programmes, particularly for those parenting alone. There is a greater focus on the need for programmes that can prepare children to succeed at school, improve the well-being of vulnerable children, and enable the participation of parents in the labour force and in continuing education. Provision of childcare delivers on the Government’s own policy of welfare to work.
TWO: Childcare must be seen as a whole of Government programme and childcare policy should be integral to the attack on poverty. Channelling support for parents through the tax system will help to make work pay. Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, comments: “In Ireland, childcare is mainly left to the market. The unsurprising consequence is that the poorer the area, the scarcer and less affordable the childcare. Affordable, available childcare remains a myth for too many families. Focussing and delivering on an outcome based budget this year, which asserts the enabling role of childcare across Government, will deliver a thriving economy and create better lives for all families, particularly those parenting alone for whom the welfare trap can be more difficult to escape.”
THREE: High quality, regulated childcare (through an enhanced quality assurance system), incentivised through tailored tax credits, will give Ireland a leading edge for inward investment. Good childcare also promotes quality jobs, quality careers and a quality workforce. A new Community Employment initiative treats its childcare placements like an apprenticeship. This is a structured and quality labour-market entry programme for those who want to progress into employment in this area. One Family calls for increased availability of these places, which will enable those in receipt of social welfare benefits an opportunity to move into gaining real marketable skills, and raise the level of professionally qualified workers in the sector. Childcare promotes economic and workforce development.
One Family reiterates its call to Government to enact its 10 Solutions campaign, with an immediate focus on childcare. All children deserve the best start in life.
Further information on One Family’s 10 Solutions is available here.
About One Family
One Family was founded in 1972 and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to those working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services. These services include the lo-call askonefamily national helpline on 1890 622 212, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes the Family Day Festival, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today, with 10,000 people attending in 2013 (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.
Available for Interview
Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023
Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191