Expanding the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme

Barnardos. (2018). Expanding the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/106
Since its announcement in Budget 2009, the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme has been an undeniable success. Take up of ECCE places has risen to almost 100 per cent with over 100,000 children availing of the scheme in any given term.1 With initial issues, such as low capitation rates and lack of contact time payments, resolved the scheme has become a trusted and valued initiative by both parents and providers alike. Recent developments have seen the ECCE expanded to give children two years of free pre-school from the age of two years and eight months until five years and six months.2 Barnardos works with more than 14,000 children and their families each year, many of whom attend one of our seven early years services. We see the benefit of early years care and education first hand, particularly for children facing challenges such as poverty or homelessness. We are supportive of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs efforts to increase access to ECCE to more children. Barnardos believes ECCE should be expanded further to give children the best possible start in life.