Childcare fees rise by average of €7 a week
CHILDCARE fees have risen by an average of €7 a week since last year–with DúnLaog hair eR a th down the most expensive area.
The 2016/2017 Early Years Sector Profile commissioned by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs found that average fees paid by parents are listed at €174.16 in 2016/2017, up from €167.03 in 2015/2016. The fees paid vary from county to county.
Parents inDúnLaogh air eR athd own are paying an average of €228.34 a week for a full day, followed by €206.32 in Co Wicklow, €204.53 in Fingal and €196.60 in south Dublin and €188.22 in Dublin city.
Parents in counties Leitrim, Monaghan and Carlow are paying the least at €142.27, €142.77 and €144.32 respectively.
“Full-time fees are 34pc higher in affluent areas than those described as deprived. This gap is even higher for part-time care (41pc),” the report states.
Meanwhile, the report found that the majority of childcare providers feel they need more training to protect children from abuse and neglect.
It found that close to 59pc of 3,707 childcare providers “indicated a need for further support and training in areas related to child protection”.
Some 99pc of crèche operators and other early childcare providers have a designated liaison person for child protection, as well as a child protection and welfare policy in place.
But the bulk of service providers said they feel they still need more training in areas such as the Children First Act 2015, a code of behaviour for working with children and Garda vetting.
Dr Geoffrey Shannon, the State-appointed special rapporteur on child protection and an expert on child and family law, said that while the figures may look concerning, it’s actually a positive development.
“I think it’s reassuring. It’s changing the culture,” he said, adding training in the area of child protection has come from a “very low base”.