Press Release

Launch of Barnardos Childcare Publication “Sharing Good Practice – Practical Guidelines for Childcare Practitioners”

Mr. Brian Lenihan T.D., Minister for Children, officially launched a new Barnardos Publication entitled: “Sharing Good Practice – Practical Guidelines for Childcare Practitioners”. The publication was developed under Barnardos Regional Childcare Development Programme which is funded by the Office of the Minister for Children (OMC), under the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme (EOCP) 2000 – 2006.

Barnardos is one of seven National Voluntary Childcare Organisations (NVCOs) in receipt of funding under the Quality Improvement Sub-Measure of the EOCP. Over €55 million has been allocated to this Sub-Measure to date, including almost €3.7 allocated to Barnardos. A further €4.5 million in EOCP capital and staffing grants was approved for Barnardos for the operation of local childcare centres in Dublin, Cork and Tipperary.

The Minister commended Barnardos for the many years of dedicated work in the field of caring for vulnerable children and families, both in terms of advocacy and in terms of direct interventions through the delivery of their many services. He noted that they had established “an excellent support and information network throughout the country, through on-going liaison with relevant stakeholders including childcare services, City/County Childcare Committees, other NVCOs, local Partnerships, the Health Service Executive and other statutory agencies”.

At the launch the Minister said “that these guidelines for childcare practitioners would further support childcare services in responding to their needs. The publication offers very practical advice and tips on many areas of good practice, which are important in the creation of a good atmosphere in a childcare service, including adult-child interactions; parental involvement; planning of programmes; and children’s social skills, behaviour and play. It also contains very useful information on childhood resource material; various associated publications; and website addresses relating to the topics covered”. Further information on these resources is readily available from Barnardos’ National Children’s Resource Centres.

Minister Lenihan also referred to the Government’s clear commitment to childcare as evidenced by the new National Childcare Strategy announced in Budget 2006 which includes the new €575 million National Childcare Investment Programme (NCIP) 2006 – 2010. The NCIP which is effective from January 2006 succeeds the EOCP and is under the remit of the OMC. It incorporates a number of key objectives including the creation of 50,000 additional childcare places, 5,000 after school places and 10,000 pre-school places for 3 to 4 year olds.

The Minister also outlined other elements of the new National Childcare Strategy including provision for a new Training Strategy for childcare workers. An ambitious target of 17,000 additional trained childcare personnel by the end of 2010 has been set by Government. A new Early Childcare Supplement of €1,000 per annum for all children under six years of age is effective from 1 April 2006. It is a direct, non-taxable payment of €250, payable per quarter year, in respect of each eligible child. The first payment will be made in August, followed by further payments in October and December 2006 and payments will be made quarterly thereafter.

The Minister concluded by wishing Barnardos every success with the implementation of its new twelve year Strategy Plan which incorporates a €100 million Investment Programme.