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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020

Qualifications in centre-based childcare 'relatively low'

An ESRI survey showed that 60% of children at nine months are still cared for by parents.

MANY PEOPLE CARING for nine-month-old babies in childcare facilities are under-qualified according to a new ESRI study.

The also ESRI says that, of those holding qualifications, a large proportion hold them at the lower FETAC level rather than the higher HETAC level.

The number of nine-month old children actually in centre-based care is relatively low however. The ESRI survey of 11,000 new mothers shows that 60 per cent of children at nine-months are still cared for by parents with just over a quarter of the remaining 40 per cent being cared for in childcare facilities.

Of children in non-parental childcare at nine-moths, 42 per cent were cared for by relatives (mostly grandparents) and 31 per cent by non-relatives (mostly childminders).

The research shows that while relatively few mothers return to work before their child is aged six months, a significant proportion return at 6-7 months.

Labour laws entitle women in Ireland to 26 weeks’ maternity leave together with 16 weeks additional unpaid leave.

According to the ESRI, women more privileged in terms of income and education were more likely to take additional unpaid leave.

Report author Dr. Frances McGinnity, rsaid that the data should be used to enhance understanding of early stage childcare in Ireland:

This report is a ‘snapshot’ of nine-month-olds, a first step in furthering that knowledge by analysing return to work and childcare choices: the three year cohort will allow us to examine how these childcare choices are related to developmental outcomes.

Read: €2.75m childcare grants a ‘drop in the ocean’ of investment needed >

Read: Childcare providers who breach regulations could be fined €100,000 >

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Rónán Duffy

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