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Hundreds of childcare providers say they won't be able to stay open without more government supports

70% of childcare providers are yet to reopen, with only 22% operating at full capacity.

Image: Shutterstock/Oksana Kuzmina

CONCERNS HAVE BEEN raised by childcare providers as 87% of businesses say that they will not be able to remain open without government support, according to a survey by the Federation of Early Childhood Providers (FECP).

The survey, which received 868 responses, was carried out between 8 and 10 July.

Despite being able to open on 29 June, the survey shows that 70% of childcare providers have been unable to reopen, with only 22% operating at full capacity. 

According to a spokesperson for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, as of 9 July 1,413 childcare providers have opened.

Alongside this, the Department also explained that during summer months, 4,500 childcare services close. Between July and August in 2019, approximately 1,800 were open compared the 1,413 open as of 9 July. 

Sixty-nine per cent of providers are also operating on a loss, despite emergency government supports being in place.

  • Our colleagues at Noteworthy are proposing to investigate how a new childcare system can be built in post-pandemic Ireland. See how you can support this project here>

Elaine Dunne, chairperson of the FECP, called the results of the survey “very startling”, and said that current government supports aren’t enough for the childcare sector. 91% of childcare providers agreed with Dunne. 

“The supports for the sector are woefully inadequate and we are facing the total implosion of the sector unless the Government acts urgently,” said Dunne.

On the July Stimulus package set to be revealed by the government, Dunne said that support for childcare businesses are “badly needed.”

According to Dunne, for the sector to be properly looked after, a minimum investment of 50 million would be required.

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“We just wish that the government would work with us and not against us,” said Dunne. 

Children who have additional needs are also a concern for almost all childcare providers, with 93% responding that there isn’t enough support available for children with additional needs to return to childcare. 

Alongside this, 74% have seen children with additional needs regress due to childcare being inaccessible during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to the report, many childcare providers are unhappy with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, as 78% would like to see childcare brought under the remit of the Department of Education.

“Only 22% have found the Department of Children helpful to them since the beginning of the pandemic. They have been papering over the cracks while the sector is collapsing,” said Dunne. 

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