Responding a survey of childcare providers by Early Childhood Ireland published today, SocDems spokesperson on Children, Jennifer Whitmore TD, called on the Department of Children to urgently rethink their planning for re-opening of the childcare sector.
“The approach to reopening the childcare sector has been beset with problems. This latest survey shows that providers will find it impossible to implement the necessary physical distancing without radical change to their operating models. We have to totally reimagine the way we provide and fund childcare – otherwise the sector will just collapse.
“The concerns of the sector show that ‘as before’ will no longer work. From concerns about physical distancing, to adult-to-child ratios to availability of PPE, childcare providers have clearly stated the risks they are facing as we emerge from Covid19 lockdown.
“These concerns are not new to us. But the responses to date by the Government have just not been enough. It’s time to radically rethink how we are going to provide childcare to frontline workers and to everyone returning to work. We need to recognise the concerns expressed by providers and provide clarity. Without urgent rethinking and replanning, we will severely restrict the capacity of the economy to get going. The potential economic cost could significantly outweigh the additional costs that will now be necessary to provide proper childcare.
“We see now that the model Ireland uses to provide childcare can no longer function. It is time to accelerate provision of a state-provided and properly funded model of childcare – it is the only way we can build a sector fit and funded for purpose.”
21st May 2020