From Socialist Voice, November 2008

Child care under attack

Child-care workers, parents and management representatives of child-care service providers have called on the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews, to abandon the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme, which has seen funding for child-care projects in Dublin cut by 42 per cent since 2007.    
     The drop in funding has resulted in a significant increase in fees, which is hitting low-income families particularly hard. Working parents have experienced increases in fees ranging from 50 per cent to 166 per cent since 2007. The survey was carried out by the Dublin Inner City Partnership.
     “For some parents these increases are simply unaffordable, and they have had to take their children out of child care,” said the SIPTU branch organiser, Gerry Flanagan. SIPTU convened a meeting in mid-October of some of those involved, including care workers, parents, and managers. The outcome of the meeting was a clear consensus among everyone who attended the meeting that quality, affordable child care, with quality jobs, must be a priority for the child-care service.
     Community Childcare provides high-quality, affordable child care, mainly in socially disadvantaged areas around the country. It allows parents to have access to employment and training courses by providing affordable child care. More importantly, the service plays a crucial role in the social, intellectual and personal development of children during their most critical years.
     Workers in Community Childcare are highly trained, generally have FETAC level 5 qualifications and a university-level qualification, yet in many instances they are very poorly paid. In general they earn just above the minimum wage. This means that well-trained and skilled staff members often find themselves unable to remain in the service in the long term, because of financial pressures.

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