Childlinks Issue 3: Childcare in Transition

Barnardos. (2007). Childlinks Issue 3: Childcare in Transition.
On 10th December 2007, The Minister for Children, Brendan Smith T.D., launched the Government's vision for Children’s Services in Ireland. This national policy document, The Agenda for Children’s Services, ‘is directing us all in a new way of working with children, their families and communities to ensure that our services are evidence-based, accessible, effective and sustainable... It is intended that the agenda serves as a broad statement of principles for all services concerned with children: LJ The broad policy framework and principles set out in The Agenda are far reaching and to be welcomed. But what does it mean for childcare or early childhood care and education? Childcare in Ireland is in a transition phase having come through a significant stage of growth and development since 1999. Childcare in Transition is the theme of this issue of ChildLinks. Dr Noirin Hayes reviews the developments of the last decade and argues for reform if Ireland is to achieve quality, sustainable, affordable and accessible early childhood education and care. In other articles, current key developments including the Framework for Early Learning, Siolta, the National Childcare Training Strategy and the revised Childcare Regulations are presented. In ‘Farewell to Childcare’, Professor Peter Moss presents an outside perspective and looks at how Ireland compares with European and New Zealand's early years provision. He acknowledges that Ireland, like other English-speaking countries, has seen a recent upsurge in policy attention to early childhood education and care services and a rapid growth in services. He argues that, like most other countries, Ireland has expanded services without adequately addressing long-standing and deep-seated problems and without sufficient thought to the future. Returning to The Agenda for Children’s Services, the document commits the OMC to publishing more specific policies in relation to certain aspects of services at a later stage. The National Childcare Strategy (1999) has served us well and much has been achieved. However, this is a timely opportunity for the OMC, in consultation with the childcare sector and parents, to develop an early childhood care and education policy framework, which sets out a vision and plan for ECCE for the next phase of development. Our children and future children deserve nothing less.