08 February 2017

Labour spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Jan O’Sullivan has said there are serious problems that need to ironed out before Minister Zappone introduces the Affordable Childcare scheme.

“Responses by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and POBAL to my questions during pre-legislative scrutiny on the new Affordable Childcare scheme raise serious concerns that the application system will not be able to do the job it needs to do by September, the starting date for the scheme. This throws the whole scheme in doubt.

“The committee was told that the IT portal will be able to accept applications by parents but may not be able to calculate how much support they should get. If providers don’t know how much subsidy each child will attract, how can they know how much to charge parents?

“We support the introduction of a  Affordable Childcare scheme but it must have systems that work for parents and providers and it must be properly funded to bring wages in the sector up to a living wage.

“We also need to fund the opportunities for childcare providers to go to college and up-skill. As part of Labour’s Right Steps childcare campaign, I have met many childcare workers who feel completely let down by the childcare measures outlined in Budget 2017.

“If we want people with good qualifications, who are committed to caring for and educating young children, we need to make sure they can build sustainable careers.

“In order to properly value our children, we need to also properly value those that work with our children.”

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