Funding Childcare in Ireland

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Darragh Doherty Office of the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs (OMCYA), Ireland. Funding Childcare in Ireland. Country Profile. Ireland Population : 4.23m (April 2006) Land Area : 68,890 sq km EU Member State N umber of children birth to six: 418,612 (10 % of population).
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Darragh DohertyOffice of the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs (OMCYA), IrelandFunding Childcare in IrelandCountry ProfileIrelandPopulation:4.23m (April 2006)Land Area: 68,890 sq km EU Member StateNumber of children birth to six:418,612 (10 % of population)Irish Economy 1994-2007 “The Celtic Tiger”Economic growth – averaged 7% p.a. between 1997 and 2005Unemployment: 13.2% in 1990 4.3% in 2006 12.5% in 2009 Female labour force participation rate: 1985: 30% 2006: 59% 2009: 54% Net ImmigrationImpact on Govt PolicyDebt/GDP ratio declined from 65% in 1997 to 28% in 2005.2004-2007 Government spending increased by 7% p.a.Taxation rates reduced (CGT 20%, CT 12.5%, Income Tax 20% & 41%)The main political party returned in 3 successive elections (1997, 2002 & 2007)Childcare FundingEqual Opportunities Childcare Programme (EOCP)EU co-funded 2000-2007€525m over 7 years50% capital34% staffing16% quality/supportsCreated and/or supported 40,000 childcare placesSuceeded by National Childcare Investment Programme 2006-2010 (NCIP)EOCP Staffing SchemeStart-up grant for not-for profit servicesGenerally linked to EOCP CapitalInitially 3-yearExtended for disadvantaged services in late 2004-2007€37 million in 20072005 Announcement of OMC & ECS2 bye-elections in 2005Childcare costsEarly Childcare Supplement (ECS) Office of the Minister for Children (OMC)OMCYA
  • Founded in 2006 as OMC
  • (Youth Affairs joined 2007)
  • Childcare, Childrens Services, Youth Justice, Youth Participation, Early Education, Youth work
  • Childcare Directorate
  • - ECS - EOCP/NCIPECSResponse to political pressuresUniversal Family BenefitChildren under 6€1,000 p.a. (rose to €1,100)All parents (MWAHs)Exportable under EU RegulationsPros & Cons of ECSProsSupported families with high childcare costs, who also had high housing costsSupported all families regardless of childcare choicesPreferred approach of the Finance MinistryConsDidn't support ECEC sectorCould be spent on non-childcare expensesUnlikely to improve access to pre-school among disadvantaged childrenWouldn't facilitate improvement of standards in ECEC sectorWas not the preferred approach of the Childcare DirectorateBirth rate 2002-9(ECS announced in December 2005....)Community Childcare Subvention Scheme 2008-2010 (CCSS)Announced 2007VFM Review of EOCPReplaced EOCP Staffing GrantFocus on disadvantage had been 'uneven'Increased funding by 50%“Targeted Universalism”Irish Economy 2008-2010(post Celtic Tiger...)Massive downturn in Economic activityTax Revenues back to 2005 levelsECS targeted in 2008 - rate restored to €1,000 p.a. - eligibility reduced to 5 years - administrative savings - widely expected to be abolished in 2009 ECS to ECCEApril 2009 BudgetECCE plan presented to Minister for ChildrenFinance Minister's AdvisorMinister to MinisterFinance & Education officialsSurprise announcement of Budget Appeal of the SchemeSupports children who would not otherwise attend pre-schoolSupports the costs of families who would have used pre-schoolSafeguarded childcare services under severe strainMaintain employment in childcare sector, retaining trained/experienced staffAllows higher standards to be required of participating servicesBetter long-term outcomes for all childrenAppeal of Scheme to FinanceSavingsMore targetedSeen as intelligent use of limited resourcesSafeguarded capital investment Maintain employment in childcare sector, and lessened likely increases in welfare costsSupport for parentsBenefits all families as an educational measurePOPULAR – “No brainer”January 2010Scheme in operation80% participation by qualified children (further 5% in CCSS)85% (3,800) of pre-schools and crèches participating (a further 500 applying from September)Top-up fees not allowed in pre-schools, scheme is available free to all children 2010-2012Scheme to be consolidatedTransitional measuresImproving qualifications of staffImproving access for Children with Special Needs2012 onwards - ?CETS schemeSanctioned earlier this monthChildcare support for students/trainees in vocational training and education coursesReplaces system of 3 different subsidies with one capitation (i.e. A free place for parent)€20m in 2011 (additional cost is €7m – using funds which previously paid for CCSS 2008-2010 transitional measures)To be in place from 30 August 2010Non-Capital Grant aid to ECEC services, and ECS 2001-2011Critical Success FactorsLinking policy with credible implementation planDemonstrate proposal meets needs that general public understand and supportIdentify where the money will come from (and why)Think about how scheme can develop Know what you'll compromise on, and what you can'tUnderstanding Key Deliverables for Finance MinistryValue for MoneyShow immediate ‘return’ to Exchequer if possibleMove quickly!
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