Parents point out gaps in Kildare childcare services in new report

Extra supports needed for under 2s, and 11 to 14 year olds

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Parents point out gaps in Kildare childcare services in new report

Kathleen Cash (Chairperson KCCC, Julie McNamara CEO,KCCC, Ann Clarke, Independent Researcher, Emma Berney Coordinator (KCYPSC) Picture; Martin Connelly

There are gaps in Kildare childcare services for under 2s and 11 to 14 years olds according to a new report launched yesterday, Monday February 11 at the Keadeen Hotel in Newbridge.

An analysis of early years childcare in Kildare has reported that parents consider childcare in the county to be generally of a good quality.

However, the analysis — which was conducted by independent researcher, Ann Clarke, for the Kildare County Childcare Committee – identified gaps in services for the two age categories, as well as in certain locations in the county.

The launch was attended by childcare service providers, councillors, parents and other members of the public.

Julie McNamara, Kildare County Childcare Committee’s CEO, explained the purpose of the needs analysis — which received funding from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs — was to examine childcare needs in Kildare from the perspective of children, parents, childcare services and childminders.

An extensive consultation process was undertaken which provided feedback from 88 children, 318 parents, 185 childcare staff and manager/owners, and 21 childminders amongst others.

“Over one third of Kildare’s population is aged 15 years and under and there are 196 childcare services in the county as well as 37 parent and toddler groups. Kildare’s childcare sector is dominated by private sector which accounts for 96% of childcare services,” said Ms McNamara.

“We’re pleased that the report confirms that parents consider childcare provision in county Kildare to be generally of good quality and that Kildare County Childcare Committee was seen as the most important source of support for the majority of childcare services.”

The report found an alternative model of school-age childcare for children aged 11 to 14 years is required.

Over half of parents surveyed use a combination of childcare such as pre-school and/or after-school combined with a childminder.

Working parents commented that childcare services are generally not meeting their needs in terms of opening and closing times and out of school provision.

The report found that access and affordability are prohibitive factors in returning to work. It said childcare services are facing challenges with hiring and retaining staff.

Childminders expressed anger that access to schemes was only open to Tusla registered childminders of which there are only two in the county.

Kildare County Childcare Committee is working with other local statutory agencies to tackle the issues raised in the report. The full report is available at www.kccc.ie

Kathleen Cash (Chairperson  KCCC, Julie McNamara CEO,KCCC, Ann Clarke, Independent Researcher, Emma Berney Coordinator (KCYPSC)