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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State of the Nation’s Children report points to considerable improvements in key aspects of Irish children’s lives, while also highlighting areas of concern

State of the nations childrenThe Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, has published the State of the Nation's Children Report: Ireland 2016. This is the sixth such report since 2006, and was compiled by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs with data contributions from a broad range of government departments, agencies and research organisations.

Minister Zappone has welcomed the report and the contribution it makes to understanding the lives of children in Ireland.  

According to the Minister, ‘This Report highlights some very positive findings and trends and shows that overall Ireland a great place in which to be a child. Nine out of ten children are happy with their lives, which I am most pleased to see. I am also encouraged by some of the health behaviour trends seen in the report such as Irish children’s high levels of physical activity when compared internationally, and a significant decline in soft drinks consumption, which more than halved between 2006 and 2014. This is good news for Ireland, particularly in the context of the government strategy, ‘A Healthy Weight for Ireland’’.

Some other positive findings that the Minister highlighted from the report include:

- The proportion of children who have never smoked cigarettes continues to rise
- The percentage of children taking cannabis has declined
- The number of graduates working in early years education and care continues to rise, helping improve quality of provision.
- Irish teenagers continue to perform well in OECD-PISA international comparisons on literacy, maths and science

The Minister, however, expressed concern at other findings, such as those relating to self-harm, particularly among girls. The report highlights that over two and a half times as many girls as boys present at hospital emergency departments following self-harm.

Another area of concern is child poverty. In this regard, the Minister stated, “The report shows that eleven percent of our children are living in consistent poverty. I believe this to be unacceptable. The reduction of child poverty is a priority of mine and is central to Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures, the whole-of-government policy on children and young people.

I am pleased, however, that the report shows the numbers availing of the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme continuing to grow. These numbers are due to almost double through 2017, following the expansion of the ECCE programme to include a second free preschool year. Providing greater access to high quality affordable childcare is a key aspect of the Programme for Government, and has been a central task for my Department. By improving access to childcare, we will help lift families out of poverty by enabling parents to avail of work, education and training opportunities while also providing greater numbers of children with a high quality preschool education”.

To read the report in full please click here

Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Workshops

New dates have been announced for the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Training following a very successful rollout in January here in Offaly. Equality Diversity and Inclusion Charter and Guidelines

This is a 15 hour training programme which will explore a wide variety of challenges facing early childhood services that can inhibit or prevent services operating in a fully inclusive manner. Challenges such as prejudice, real representation of all children in an early childhood service, strategies to promote inclusive practice and how to draw up an Inclusion policy for your early childhood service are all explored. The programme uses the strength based Anti-Bias approach throughout.

This workshop is for providers/practitioners who are working in services direclty with children.

Maximum booking of 2 people per service.

There are two training workshops being rolled out as set out below:

 Thursday 9th March  7.00pm – 10.00pm Saturday 6th May  10am – 4.30pm
 Thursday 16th March  7.00pm – 10.00pm Tuesday 9th May 7.00pm – 10.00pm
Thursday 23rd March  7.00pm – 10.00pm Tuesday 16th May 7.00pm – 10.00pm
Tuesday 28th March 7.00pm – 10.00pm Tuesday 23rd May  7.00pm – 10.00pm
Thursday 06th April  7.00pm – 10.00pm    

 If interested in taking part please contact the office on 0579135878 for a booking form.

Child Protection & Welfare Refresher Training

The Child Protection & Welfare Refresher Training taking place on Wednesday 8th March is now fully booked.  Places for the next refresher which is open to providers who completed their Childre Protection & Welfare training in 2014 will take place in April and places are filling up fast with only a couple left. CPR 8th March

Children’s Rights Card shows urgent need for Childcare Reforms

Children’s Rights Card shows urgent need for Childcare ReformsRC17 Cover

“Access to Childcare vital to lift families out of poverty”

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

The need to urgently progress the Government’s radical new approach to childcare has been further highlighted by the Annual Report Card from the Children’s Rights Alliance, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.

The Minister says the Card echoes the priorities which have been set in her Department including:

· Legislation to underpin Childcare Reforms from September
· Progressing Prevention and Early Intervention measures for children
· Reform of the guardian ad litem service
· First national LGBT Youth Strategy

Responding to the Report Card, Minister Katherine Zappone added:

“The strong foundations are in place so we can respond to many of the issues raised in the annual report. Over the next few months I look forward to ensuring that our policies become reality.

In the area of Subsided Childcare, legislation is underway and will be progressed as a priority. My officials are also working hard to put the administrative, IT and payments procedures in place to ensure we continue to change our childcare services from being one of the most expensive in the world to the best.

There are those families who simply cannot afford to wait for our changes to come into force and working with Focus Ireland my Department has commenced a free childcare scheme for young children who are homeless.

I recognise that the cost of childcare is a barrier for families in poverty as parents cannot take up jobs, training and education – we will change that.

Prevention and early intervention is important for young people and children at risk and we are fully committed to working with frontline agencies on the ground to further develop such services.

As Minister I am fully committed to reforming the guardian ad litem system and welcome the support of the members of the Children’s Rights Alliance to support those goals.

Work on the first ever National LGBT Youth Strategy is now well underway and I look forward to publication before the end of the year.”

To see the report card in full please click HERE

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.

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