More than 260 childcare providers are preparing to close their doors due to a lack of funding.
The Federation of Early Childhood Providers (FECP) has said a survey of more than 1,000 of its members suggests more than 5.55 are planning to close.
It said the situation is even worse when it comes to providers of early childhood care and education (ECCE) – with 7.5% planning to close.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, FECP Chair Elaine Dunne said the Government’s latest core funding announcement will not keep many firms afloat.
She said many smaller ECCE services will “literally just break even” and the number that will close could be a lot higher than 260.
“A lot of these service providers are just feeling very deflated, very let down by the department,” she said.
“These are the smaller services. These are the little schools around the corner and these little schools are very much needed by the community. They do huge service for their communities.”
She said ECCE services have seen no rise in capitation since 2018 – with funding increasing by just 7% in the last 12 years.
Services receive €69 per child per week, or €4.30 an hour.
“We have service providers who have three staff members to every 22 children, where the department dictates we should only have two, so a lot of these providers are not even taking home a wage,” she said.
“They are getting nothing out of this.
“I met with a provider last night. Two of them running a service. 100 children in the service and at the end of the year, after they pay their staff, their wages are €4,000 between the two of them the way this funding is working out. How could we stay open like that?”
She said the FECP is calling for the capitation to be raised to €100 per child.
Ms Dunne said smaller services should also be permitted to bring back in optional extras, such as keeping children for longer periods.
She said ECCE providers are also limited to 22 children per classroom and FECP is calling for those limits to be lifted.
“This would all give these providers sustainability and keep them open in the communities around the country,” she said.
“We can’t lose these service providers because the full day care services don’t have the space to take children.”
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