For more than 10 years, Employers For Childcare has been calling for a Childcare Strategy, supported by legislation, that is fully costed, with appropriate support for parents, and providers, and that recognises childcare as a vital part of our economic infrastructure. Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK without a Childcare Strategy, and is falling further behind the other UK regions in terms of vital investment in our childcare sector.
Employers For Childcare is delighted to be part of a new All-Party Working Group on early education and childcare which will focus on delivering a childcare system that can work for everyone – children, parents, childcare providers, employers and society more generally.
The All-Party Working Group provides the opportunity for cross-departmental working, and as well as exploring proposals for new legislation, and an updated Childcare Strategy, it will look at how existing strategies can be harnessed to take action forward in the absence of an Executive. The group will establish and work towards a wider vision to achieve a childcare system that is affordable and accessible for parents whilst being sustainable for childcare providers to deliver.
The first meeting, co-chaired by MLAs Chris Lyttle and Claire Hanna, was attended by a wide range of elected representatives and policy-makers from government departments, as well as representative and partnership organisations with a key role in childcare issues. We look forward to participating in this group, working towards delivering a childcare infrastructure that achieves quality, affordable, flexible and sustainable childcare for all.
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