Offaly County Childcare Committee -   057 9135878

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Welcome to Offaly County Childcare Committee

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Offaly County Childcare Committee is located at St Joseph's Community Centre in Kilcormac, Co Offaly.

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2018 Childcare Capital Programme application guidelines released ‘Play areas, extra places and maintenance to be supported’ Applications open 12th February – 9th March 2018

2018 Childcare Capital Programme application guidelines released
‘Play areas, extra places and maintenance to be supported’
Applications open 12th February – 9th March 2018

Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D., Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, has today announced the publication of application guidelines for the 2018 Early Years and School Age Childcare Capital programmes. These guidelines are to assist providers in making their applications, including a detailed breakdown of funding streams and information on how to apply. This follows the general announcements of programme details made in 2017.

The Early Years and School Age Capital programmes will open for applications from Monday February 12th and close on Friday March 9th. Further information on the programmes and information on how to make an application is available to providers through the Pobal Programmes Implementation Platform (PIP). In addition, providers interested in making an application are encouraged to contact their local City/Country Childcare Committee (CCC) for advice and support.

In order to streamline the application process, early years and school age childcare providers will apply for funding using a single application form on PIP.

Extensive details of the below strands of funding are also included in the guidelines released today:
· Strand 1: Early Years Expansion/New
· Strand 2: Early Years Essential Building Maintenance (Community services only)
· Strand 3: Early Years Natural Outdoor Play Area
· Strand 4: School Age Expansion/New
· Strand 5: School Age Essential Building Maintenance & Quality (Community services only)

Capital 2018 Applicant Guidelines

The timeline for the Early Years and School Age Capital 2018 programmes is as follows:

Actions Key Dates
Application Guidelines 31st January 2018
Go live date for applications 12th February 2018
Closing date for applications 9th March 2018
Appraisals March-April 2018
Decisions May 2018
Notification of Outcomes Issued by end of May 2018

Supporting Families Workshop Series 2018 - Leap

LEAP IRELAND is holding two Supporting Families Workshops
in CHO Area 8 during February in the following venues:

21st February 'Creating a Good Life' Workshop,leap ireland logo

This Workshop is for parents of children aged 6-12 years
HSE Offices, The Business Park, Hale Street, Ardee, County Louth
10am to 4pm.
Contact Person: Patricia Bannon
Phone: 041 6871510/087 1208670Supporting Families Workshop Series 2018

22nd February 'Enabling Good Lives' Workshop,
This Workshop is for parents of children aged 12-18 years
HSE Primary Care Centre, Harbour Road, Mullingar, County Westmeath
10am - 4pm.
Contact Person: Patricia Bannon
Phone: 041 6871510/ 087 1208670

To make a booking please phone Patricia Bannon at the HSE above.
For Family Workshops topics covered include:
• Getting clear on what you want
• Having high expectations of your son/daughter
• Believing in the natural authority of families
• Thinking about valued roles
• Investing in a life in community
• Self-Directed Living
• Individual Lifestyle Development
• Connecting with others – building allies

This workshop will help families to be clearer on how to move deliberately in the direction of their dreams. We will share practical examples of how to break down steps for planning a good life – whether the goal is inclusion in your school, community or local groups or pursuing interests, gifts and talents.

What people have said about these workshops:
“Today was fantastic – the most enjoyable workshop in years. Both of you made it so very practical.”
“Thought provoking. Should be mandatory training for families and professionals.”
“Thank you for today, my husband and I feel that we have gained so much from the workshop that we can use going forward. It was so worth the journey.”

Opening Statement by Minister Dr Katherine Zappone - Meeting of Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs

Opening Statement by Minister Dr Katherine Zappone
Meeting of Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs
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Minsiter Dr. Katherine Zappone met this morning with the Joint Oireachtas Committee to update the members of this committee on the progress made in the development of the Affordable Childcare Scheme and, importantly, on the success of the measures implemented by my department since September to improve access to affordable, quality childcare.

She gave an update on the following areas:

  • Making Childcare More Affordable
  • Making Childcare More Accessible
  • Update on the development of the Affordable Childcare Scheme
  • Legislative Progress
  • ICT Development
  • Administrative and other components
  • Timeline for ACS

To read the statement in full on the Department of Children and Youth Affairs website please click HERE

Designing Accessible Childcare Centres New Universal Design Guidance to be developed

Designing Accessible Childcare Centresdcyalogo
New Universal Design Guidance to be developed

Statement by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone

A further step is to be taken to make childcare centres accessible to all children with the development of New Universal Design Guidance, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.

The Guidance will be used for refurbishment, renovation and the building of centres.

Officials from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design (CEUD) at the National Disability Authority will oversee this development. CEUD is the only statutory centre for Universal Design in the world.

The work, which is being undertaken by Early Childhood Ireland and TrinityHaus (Trinity College Dublin), will involve:
• Reviewing national and international best practice, research and guidance in design of early years settings from a Universal Design approach;
• Consulting with a diverse range of stakeholders, including early years practitioners, parents and children; and
• Developing Universal Design Guidance for Early Years Settings, including a self-audit tool, which aims to support the early year’s sector in creating universally designed spaces for all stakeholders in both new and retrofit settings. This Guidance will also be useful for built environment design professionals in private and public sectors working on the design of new build and retro-fitting of early years settings.

The Universal Design Guidance for Early Years Settings will be published in Autumn 2018.

Welcoming the news, the Minister Zappone said:  “I am delighted to announce this very important development, which is being funded under the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM).

Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.  The potential of this work is far reaching.  Not only will the Universal Design Guidance identify opportunities to make early years settings more accessible and inclusive for all children.

It will also identify opportunities to create better work environments for staff and to address particular needs of visitors to these settings, including parents”.

Teresa Heeney, CEO Early Childhood Ireland, also welcomed the news. ‘On behalf of everyone at Early Childhood Ireland and the team at TrinityHaus, we are delighted to have been chosen to take part in this very important work. As the largest organisation in the early years sector in Ireland, we are in a unique position to represent the perspectives and best practice gathered from our 3,800 members across Ireland and from external stakeholders.

The expertise of these practitioners, specialists, and researchers will enable us to develop Universal Design guidance that is inclusive and meaningful to all.

In turn, this will contribute to enhanced environments for all children attending early years settings, as well as their parents and the staff who support them.’

To read the notes in line with the statement please click HERE

Is Free Pre-School Education Accessible to All? Views of parents and pre-school practitioners to be sought

Is Free Pre-School Education Accessible to All?dcyalogo
Views of parents and pre-school practitioners to be sought
Statement by Minister Katherine Zappone

Parents and pre-schools using Government supports to make free childcare accessible to children with disabilities are being invited to give their views on the supports available.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, is encouraging participation in an Independent Review of the Access Inclusion Model (AIM), which has supported almost 5,000 children with disabilities since it was launched 18-months ago.

Overall, AIM represents a €25m investment by Government in 2018 alone and underlines Minister Zappone’s commitment to change our childcare system from being one of the most expensive in the world into the best.

The review will gather information that will reflect the experiences of the children, parents and pre-school practitioners availing of AIM supports as well as information from disability representative organisations.

The review which is being carried out by RSM Ireland will include:

An online survey of a representative sample of parents and pre-school practitioners; and

Qualitative interviews and case studies involving a small sample of stakeholders.

AIM provides seven levels of support, including enhanced continuing professional development for pre-school practitioners; the provision of equipment, appliances and grants for minor alterations; access to therapeutic intervention and increased capitation for pre-school providers in the case of children with very complex needs.

Views will be sought on each of the levels and will be used to help inform future policy and build truly accessible affordable quality childcare.

Speaking about the review, Minister Zappone said:

“The Access and Inclusion Model was launched just 18 months ago. In this short space of time, thousands of children have benefitted from AIM supports and the provision of free pre-school for children with a disability has been transformed.

Now is the time to review what has worked well and identify where improvements could be made. Hearing from parents, pre-school practitioners and key stakeholders will be vital in this regard.

It will help us to decide the best way forward. Already since the start of the year I have been proud to announce new initiatives including extra free training for pre-school practitioners as well as the roll out of sensory and educational play resources to support inclusive practice in to pre-school settings.

Now I want to build on the progress AIM has made since its introduction and continue to fulfil my ambition of turning one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world into the best”.

Supporting Quality Childcare in Offaly

Offaly County Childcare Committee support the development of quality, affordable, inclusive, accessible childcare and family friendly services for all children in every part of the county.

Offaly County Childcare Committee has been meeting since May 2001 and is made up of representatives from the statutory sector, social partners, community groups, voluntary groups, the Community and Voluntary Forum, National Voluntary Children's Organisations, providers of childcare, and parents - all of whom have a vested interest in childcare provision in the county.

Learn more