Working towards Childcare For All in Northern Ireland
Employers For Childcare is a co-convenor of the Childcare For All coalition in Northern Ireland, a network of organisations calling for a childcare infrastructure that is affordable, accessible, flexible, high quality, and supports children’s education and development. The coalition’s vision is for childcare that is available to, and suitable for, all children including those of all ages, those with a disability, children from lone parent households, newcomer families and those living in a rural location. Childcare provision should enable parents to access and stay in paid work or education and training, and must also ensure that all of our children and young people have the best start in life. Finally, the coalition calls for the value of childcare work to be recognised with decent pay and terms and conditions, supporting all childcare providers to be sustainable and to continue delivering quality childcare and early education.
Earlier this year, the coalition convened a Policy Conference: ‘Childcare Policy Development in NI: Exploring Drivers and Addressing Barriers’. We have now published a Conference Paper drawing together presentations from the day, as well as insights and reflections from participants. These highlighted important issues including:
- The importance of guaranteeing suitable childcare for children with additional needs
- The need to ensure childcare is affordable for parents to access, and for providers to deliver
- Supporting families who need childcare outside of the typical ‘9-5 Monday to Friday’ working week
- Ensuring the sustainability of childcare providers.
You can find out more about the work of the coalition and read the Conference Paper here.
Cross Party Working Group on Early Education and Childcare
Employers For Childcare is also delighted to be part of a new Cross Party Working Group on Early Education and Childcare. The first meeting, co-chaired by MLAs Chris Lyttle and Claire Hanna, was attended by a wide range of MLAs and representatives from the political parties in Northern Ireland as well as organisations working within the sector and Departmental officials. Alongside other members of the Childcare For All coalition, we will be participating in this group, working towards delivering a childcare infrastructure that achieves quality, affordable, flexible and sustainable childcare for all in Northern Ireland. We will keep you updated as the work of this group progresses.