Offaly County Childcare Committee -   057 9135878

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

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Minister Zappone launches Draft Childminding Action Plan

Minister Zappone launches Draft Childminding Action Plan19875672 1337059526348124 484620879276509836 n

29th August 2019

  • Draft Action Plan sets out proposals for improving access to high quality and affordable early learning and care and school-age childcare through childminding
  • Proposals to extend supports and regulation to all paid, non-relative childminders, with a phased approach to reforms
  • Public consultation process launched: includes call for submissions; online survey and focus groups of childminders

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, today launched the Draft Childminding Action Plan, for the purpose of public consultation. The Draft Action Plan sets out proposals for improving access to high quality and affordable early learning and care and school-age childcare through childminding.

As well as publishing the Draft Action Plan, the Minister also launched a public consultation process on the proposals. She invites childminders, parents, other stakeholders and anyone interested in childminding to share their views. A call for submissions and online survey are available from today on the Department’s website (www.dcya.gov.ie), and a number of focus groups of childminders will take place over the coming weeks.

Work on the proposals began in 2016 when Minister Zappone established the Working Group on Reforms and Supports for the Childminding Sector. The Working Group submitted a report of recommendations to the Minister in March 2018. The Draft Action Plan being launched today is firmly rooted in the Working Group report. In line with the recommendations, the Draft Action Plan proposes to extend supports and regulation to all paid, non-relative childminders, with a phased approach to reforms. The Draft Action Plan extends over a 10-year period.

Childminding offers many benefits to children and parents, but currently receives little formal recognition by the State. Despite its many advantages and its continued popularity among parents, it has remained largely unfunded, unsupported and unregulated.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Zappone said, “Childminding is of huge importance to children, to parents, to our economy, and to our society. However, it has not received the support it deserves in our public funding or our system of regulation. This Draft Action Plan aims to address this. It recognises the valuable work that childminders do and aims to ensure they can access the supports they need. The Draft Action Plan sets out positive reform proposals to bring childminding into the mainstream of support, funding and regulation .”

A cornerstone of the Draft Action Plan is recognition of the differences between childminding and centre-based provision of early learning and care and school-age childcare. Given the home and family setting in which childminders operate, the Draft Childminding Action Plan proposes the development of childminder-specific Regulations. These should be proportionate and appropriate to the home setting. The Regulations will also outline the development of bespoke training and qualifications for childminders.

A key benefit of the proposal to bring childminding into the scope of regulation is that it will allow parents who use childminders to access subsidies under the National Childcare Scheme, which will require use of Tusla-registered service providers. In this way the Draft Plan aims to support parental choice in type of provider of early learning and care and school-age childcare.

The Draft Action Plan proposes that a transition phase will allow childminders to take part in the National Childcare Scheme at the earliest possible opportunity, provided they have completed initial training requirements and meet other core regulatory requirements (e.g. Garda vetting, first aid) and go on to complete further training over a period of years. The level of training / qualifications to be required has not yet been determined and is a key focus of the consultation process launched today.

The Draft Action Plan mainly addresses childminders who work in their own homes, who are self-employed. It does not propose to regulate those who work in the children’s homes, who are regarded as employees of the children’s parents (who may be “nannies” or au pairs). The Draft Action Plan does, however, propose to develop resources in relation to the use of nannies or au pairs, including information for parents.

There is no intention to extend regulation to those who care for children who are related to them.

Beyond Limits the first event of its kind for young people with disabilities

Beyond Limits: Empowering young people with disabilities was launched on Tuesday, 20th August at Croke Park. The event itself takes place at Croke Park on Saturday 19th October and will
be opened by President Michael D Higgins.Beyond limits

Beyond Limits is the first event of its kind, amplifying the voices of young people with disabilities, hearing about the achievements of those with disabilities, learning about technology, education and employment opportunities, seeing sports and activities in action, and providing a platform for conversations about inclusion and relationships.

Beyond Limits will be launched by presenter Julian Benson of Dancing with the Stars, along with Disability Rights Activist Joanne O'Riordan and Paralympic Gold Medalist Michael McKillop who are speakers and event ambassadors.

They will be joined by co-presenters Jason Hopkins (19) and Karen O’Mahony (18) representing Gaisce, along with youth ambassador and speaker Daniel Daly (14). Members of the Irish National Youth Orchestra who will be collaborating with young people with disabilities at Beyond Limits will also be at the launch.

Speaking ahead of the launch of Beyond Limits, the Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon said:  “Young people with disabilities are the exact same as other young people; they want to spend time with friends, they want to know what opportunities are open to them in the future and they want to have fun.  “We have created Beyond Limits to give a platform to young people with disabilities in Ireland. Beyond Limits will be a demonstration of how to include people with disabilities in major events of this kind. I hope that its legacy will be that issues affecting young people with disabilities become more mainstream and are recognised by those outside of the disability community. “1,000 young people with disabilities, parents, siblings, carers and friends will make their way to Croke Park on Saturday 19th October for Beyond Limits. Beyond Limits has been designed following a consultation with 71 children from all over Ireland who have varying disabilities and additional needs. It has also been informed by a committee of parents and disability organisations.

Beyond Limits presenter Julian Benson of Dancing with the Stars said:  “I am honoured and delighted to be co-hosting such a wonderful event that encourages and inspires young people with disabilities to go for their dreams no matter what their challenge is in life. Reach for the stars, believe in yourself and never give up on your passions. Such an important event like Beyond Limits shows us that anything is possible -there are no limits.”

Event Ambassador and speaker Joanne O’Riordan spoke of her involvement in the event:  “It is absolutely incredible to be a part of the Beyond Limits Summit for young people with disabilities, both visible and invisible. Growing up, I never heard or saw anything like this and it is so important that young people can have role models who, not only look like them, but have been through the same things they have.”

Organisations involved in Beyond Limits include Special Olympics Ireland, Gaisce, The Disability Federation of Ireland, Inclusion Ireland, Arts and Disability Ireland, The National Youth Orchestra, The GAA, Cara Sport Inclusion Ireland, The National Parent’s Council, The School of Inclusive and Special Education in Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin School of Education, Zeminar, The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Ernst and Young, Sensory Pod, Silicon Republic and UrAbility.

Dublin Bus, Luas and DART will be providing free transport to all of those attending the event within the Dublin area.

Higher Capitation 2019/20

Higher Capitation 2019/20 PobalLogo

Please be advised that all applications for Higher Capitation 2019/20 on the PIP Portal must be accompanied by a scanned copy of the relevant staff member’s qualification(s). This will require completing the second tickbox on the form.

Higher Capitation forms will be available for submission from 19/08/2018 with reviews commencing in early October.

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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