Your Budget: 'Very little benefit to childcare workers'
A WEXFORD childcare provider says that quality for children attending full day care creches will improve very little from this year's Budget.
According to Nourrice Crèche & Montessori school owner Gillian Murphy, the increase of funding given to crèches for providing full day care will benefit parents only, and not the staff in the crèches as the minister is intending.
"When children attend full day care, we are given €64 a week and the parents pay the difference to match our full day fees. Even though this will increase to €70, it is only going to reduce the parents fees, we won't actually see any more money, so it cannot go to staff," says Mrs Murphy.
At the moment Mrs Murphy provides full time care for €183 a week, per child. Due to the high demand for full time care, she is not in the position to provide for parents who are seeking the three hour care by itself, and instead only offers the full care at the reduced rate. Mrs Murphy believes that at the moment, there are a number of watered down childcare schemes.
She believes that while concentrating on investment in preschool and getting this scheme right is welcome, this move is only going to improve care and help sustainability in sessional preschool services where the increased capitation will be retained by the service. "I believe affordable childcare should be paused until we sort out the two preschool years of childcare completely," she said.
At the moment, childcare and sessional services are capped at fixed rates. Mrs Murphy says that these rates are unfair and unrealistic for crèches to survive. "When there is a fee capped at an unfeasible rate, which it has been since 2010, the only way independent providers can be sustained is by cutting costs. This means cheap labour, cheap food and cheap toilet roll, this has a direct effect on the most dependent people in our society, the children," she said.
Mrs Murphy also discussed the additional funding given to Tusla. "At the moment crèches are over regulated, the inspection process is too fragmented," she said.