Despite the commitments in the Programme for Government to increase paid parental leave, broaden parental choice and increase supports for stay at home parents, there is nothing in Budget 2018 for children not in formal childcare, according to the Social Democrats.
Speaking after today’s Budget announcement, Councillor Jennifer Whitmore, Spokesperson on Children, said:
“The reality for parents is that as their children grow and develop, their childcare needs change. This budget only supports those parents who have decided, through choice or necessity, to use formal childcare for their little ones. It does not recognise the costs forgone by those parents who decide to give up work to stay at home, or those relatives who offer to help out minding children for their families. It is disappointing that Budget 2018 provides no support to those families.
“Without better supports for the more than 70 per cent of children being minded by their parents or informally by their grandparents or other relatives, the choice for a parent to stay at home with their children becomes even more difficult. Budget 2018 is a missed opportunity to support the choices parents want to make in the best interests of their children.”
Cllr Whitmore added:
“The absence in this budget of paid parental leave, early years payments for all parents of young children, and extended unpaid parental leave, means that supporting the full range of childcare choices for parents is still a long way off.”
Cllr Whitmore welcomed increases in Budget 2018 to support the sustainability of the childcare sector and to add some extra weeks to the state-supported pre-school care for young children, although those changes won’t come into effect for another year – September 2018.
“Also welcome is the funding to support all the Area Based Childhood programmes in 2018, which support the most disadvantaged children. However, it’s very difficult to recruit and retain staff in these valuable programmes when there’s no multi-year funding, and a constant air of uncertainty hangs over them,” she added.
10 October 2018