Sunday 17 December 2017

If we want the best childcare, we have to pay those who deliver it

Minister Katherine Zappone. Photo: Collins Photo Agency
Minister Katherine Zappone. Photo: Collins Photo Agency

As a parent of three children under 15 and an unpaid board member of a local childcare service in Beaumont, Dublin, I'm amazed, and I don't mean in a good way, at how Minister Katherine Zappone can announce this new 'Affordable Childcare' subsidy from September. She has done so without any detail in advance of Budget 2018 regarding who exactly qualifies and without a clear picture at this point of what fee - if any - will be paid to childcare professionals for the humongous amount of administration time required to get this show on the road by September.

How can our ministers and Government departments expect early years educators to work for free? And this vague promise, as per the article yesterday, that 'Minister Katherine Zappone will push for extra funding for crèches delivering the affordable childcare scheme as part of her negotiations for Budget 2018', does not pay the bills. I commend Ms Zappone for bringing in these new schemes, but we will never have the best childcare service in the world if we don't pay the people who deliver it properly.

Remember, many childcare staff have to go on the dole over the summer months. Ms Zappone can't announce a service that she's not willing to pay for.

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