Wednesday 29 May 2013: For immediate release
Primetime Documentary on Crèches Depicts Blatant Disregard for Children’s Rights
Responding to last night’s Primetime exposé on crèches, the Children’s Rights Alliance has expressed its serious concern in relation to the treatment of the children depicted in these settings. Children have a right to be protected from ill-treatment and all forms of abuse under Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Ireland ratified in 1992. Children must be treated with dignity and respect at all times. Parents need to be assured that their children are well looked after and nurtured in all child-minding settings.
Maria Corbett, Acting Chief Executivesays: “What we saw on Primetime last night was harrowing and showed at times a blatant disregard for the rights of the children depicted. This is unacceptable. Clearly, there must be consequences for any incident of ill-treatment of children. There must also be a political response to improve the quality of care in crèches and other child-minding facilities. We believe there are five critical steps that need to be taken:
1. Ireland’s first National Early Years’ Strategy, currently being developed by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, needs to be rights-based and accompanied by an adequately resourced implementation plan. It must contain a clear and ambitious child-centred vision for early years’ policy, and critically, it should include comprehensive measures to improve the quality of early years’ services. This is an outstanding recommendation of Children’s Rights Alliance Report Card 2013.
2. An implementation plan is needed to support the comprehensive rollout of Síolta and Aistear, standards governing the early years’ sector. This should be integrated into the new National Early Years’ Strategy. Currently, where training in Síolta is available, access is limited as ﬁnancial support is not being made available to providers or to individual staff for up-skilling. Aistear is being rolled out in some infant classes at primary school level but not at pre-school level. These are outstanding recommendations of Report Card 2010, 2011, 2012 and2013.
3. The Health Service Executive must urgently inspect childcare settings that have had not been inspected in the past year, inspection reports must be published and action taken on foot of inspection findings and recommendations. The Inspectorate should be upskilled in early childhood care and education and the remit of inspection teams expanded beyond monitoring health and safety. Moreover, inspections should be formally integrated with Síolta and Aistear. This is an outstanding recommendation of Report Card 2012 and2013.
4. A key to improving quality in the early years’ sector is to focus on up-skilling the workforce. The Work Force Development Plan published in 2010 by the Department of Education and Skills is a step in the right direction. However, this Plan needs to be adequately resourced and accompanied by targets and timeframes for its implementation. There must be a focus on ensuring that there is adequate management and supervision to support staff in their continuing professional development. Minimum qualifications should be introduced and enforced for all those working in early care and education. This is an outstanding recommendation of Report Card 2011, 2012 and2013.
5. An audit of quality across the early care and education sector, including the free pre-school year is needed to ensure that the care and education provided is high-quality and is having a positive impact on children. This is an outstanding recommendation of Report Card 2013.
In accordance with Article 18 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Irish State has a responsibility to develop services and facilities for the care and benefit of children. Quite simply, there must be much more investment in developing and supporting this system to ensure that children are supported to fully enjoy their childhoods.”
Notes to Editor
Report Card is the Children’s Rights Alliance annual flagship publication that evaluates the Government on its progress during the previous year in meeting its commitments to children. There have been five Report Cards since 2009 and all are available here http://bit.ly/12NZ1m8
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