Progress on childcare

Marie Marin EFC Employers For Childcare Charitable Group broadly welcomes the arrival of the Northern Ireland Executive’s Programme for Affordable and Integrated Childcare. ‘Bright Start’, the Strategic Framework and Key First Actions, is the precursor to a more detailed Strategy for Affordable and Integrated Childcare in 2014. It is widely acknowledged that the lack of affordable and quality childcare is a huge barrier to parents, particularly women, to get into or return to work.

‘Bright Start’ hopes to go some way in addressing this issue. The first key actions include the development of childcare provision – namely up to 7,000 additional childcare places. The Community Childcare Schemes will be targeted at families most in need – those living in the top 25 per cent most disadvantaged areas. Provision is also going to be increased for families living in rural areas, for school-age children and for those families who have a child with a disability.

Employers For Childcare Charitable Group, which already offers a Family Benefits Advisory Service, particularly welcomes plans to run a media campaign which will promote the financial assistance available with childcare. We receive calls daily from parents who are unaware of what financial assistance is available to them to help with the increasing costs of childcare.

We are hopeful that this awareness raising campaign, which includes an element of practical advice, will be an integral part of the forthcoming strategy. Given the impending changes to tax credits and childcare vouchers, parents will now more than ever require this information and support.

CEO Marie Marin


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