Child­care fees rise by av­er­age of €7 a week

Irish Independent - - News - Al­li­son Bray

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”.

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