Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, Roderic O’Gorman T.D., today announced that that there has been a positive rate of sign up since childcare services were allowed to reopen on 29 June 2020, with 85% of providers surveyed by the Department indicating that they planned on reopening.
Number of services expected to reopen
Of the 4,500 childcare services in the country, only approximately 40% remain open over the summer period (1,800). The remaining 60% close for July and reopen around the end of August or early September.
In a survey of providers conducted by the Department prior to reopening, of 2624 services responding, 85% (n=2299) indicated they are planning on reopening, while 2% (n= 49) indicated they are not. The remainder indicated that they were still thinking about it.
Registration of children eligible for government schemes
By the 8th of July, of 1800 childcare services open last summer, 1,282 services had registered at least one child on a Government scheme. As many children do not access Government childcare schemes, and as providers can continue to register children on schemes over the coming days and weeks, this indicates a very high level of reopening.
It is expected that the number of registrations will increase as service providers have more time to complete administrative requirements.
The childcare sector is heavily regulated and services which intend to close must notify the regulator, Tusla. The most recent available data shows that 68 services notified their closure to Tusla year to date, while 17 new services have notified their intent to open a new service. Between January and July 2019, 92 services had indicated their intention to close, so this year’s figures are in fact less.
In 2019, 200 services closed, and 150 closed in both 2017 and 2018. Data shows however that services which close are replaced by new services or by extra places in existing services. DCYA data shows that capacity in the sector has grown year on year for the last 5 years, with a total increase of 60%. The average service has grown in size from 33 children to 47 children.
Reaction from the sector
The Minister is pleased that at a weekly meeting with eight organisations representing the sector on Tuesday 7 July, all organisations indicated a very high level of reopening. They did however express concern that parental demand and level of child attendance had reduced but they hoped to see this return to higher level by September.
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