Minister for Children opens Annual Conference of IPPA, the Early Childhood Organisation
Plaza Hotel, Tallaght
Saturday 22 April 2006
‘I am delighted to open the 37th Annual Conference and AGM of the IPPA, which plays a major role in the provision of early childhood care and education in Ireland’ stated Brian Lenihan TD, Minister for Children. ‘Placing the needs of children and their well being, at the centre of early childhood care and education provision and policy, is a core objective of the IPPA’s mission’ added the Minister.
‘As the IPPA is one of the 7 National Voluntary Childcare Organisations, in receipt of funding under the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme (EOCP) 2000 - 2006, I am very familiar with its activities. I wish to congratulate the Association on the enormous contribution it has made to the Early Childhood Care and Education sector’ continued Minister Lenihan.
The Minister noted that during 2005 alone, a total of 886 participants successfully completed IPPA accredited training programmes while at the same time 1,465 participants completed tailored training. ‘I am pleased to learn that the IPPA Quality Improvement Programme (QIP) is going from strength to strength and I would like to pay tribute to the IPPA staff who have developed the specialised knowledge and skills to support practitioners’ said Minister Lenihan.
‘In recent years, through its representation and involvement on the National Childcare Co-ordinating Committee, the IPPA has contributed to many important areas of national childcare policy such as the Review of the Childcare (Pre-School Services) Regulations 1996, Quality Standards with the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education (CECDE) and curriculum development with National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NCCA)’ declared the Minister.
Minister Lenihan also referred to the Government’s clear commitment to childcare under the new €575 million National Childcare Investment Programme, announced in Budget 2006. Ambitious targets have been set for the next five years, not just in terms of additional childcare places, but also in terms of the specific needs for pre-school services, school age childcare and wrap around services for children and parents. Last month, the Minister announced almost €11 million in capital grant assistance and over €1 million in staffing grant assistance to childcare providers. He emphasised his commitment to ensuring that the targets set are met in a way which takes account of the specific needs of parents and their children.