O’Sullivan welcomes announcement of Early Years Forum by Minister Zappone

19 August 2016

Labour Party Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs Jan O’Sullivan TD has welcomed the announcement by Minister Katherine Zappone that an Early Years Forum has been established.

O’Sullivan commented: “The announcement by Minister Zappone that an Early Years Forum will meet in September to advise the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on policy to enhance the supports and services for children in their early years and their parents is a positive step.

“This Forum will provide a valuable platform where the issues and concerns of parents and those who work in the sector can be heard. It is vital the Early Years sector gets the investment and support it needs.

“I particularly welcome the inclusion of a representative from the Department of Education and Skills in the Forum. When I was appointed Minister for Education and Skills in the previous government I made it a priority to focus on Early Years education. I established an Advisory Group and an educational inspectorate to support childcare providers. It is important that the two Departments work together in the interests of children.

“The Early Years are vital for all children to reach their potential and have been too long neglected and under resourced in Ireland.  The previous government’s introduction of the free pre-school year and last year’s decision to add another year, which will be implemented this September is progress that must be built on.  I will be pressing strongly for increased funding in the October budget so that quality childcare and education is affordable and available to all parents.”

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