Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Joint Committee On Children, Equality, Disability, Integration And Youth

Child Poverty: Discussion

Dr. Margaret Rogers:

I will add to Dr. Keilthy's response to Deputy Dillon's question.

One of the things he mentioned, which was obvious from his question, was that the use of data and evidence to identify where deprivation exists, and its impact, is very important. That should be used as the foundation to inform policy. As was mentioned, we know that as many children again are not living in DEIS areas as are in DEIS schools. It underpins the need for universal and accessible services for children at all stages in their health, education and housing.

I will again state that the upcoming national development plan provides the State with an enormous opportunity to move and progress towards a more publicly funded and managed early learning and care system based on planned areas of need, where we know there are gaps and capacity issues and, potentially, that private enterprise is not really interested in developing those areas. The opportunity to develop models of publicly funded and managed early learning and care settings, with qualified staff, that will meet the needs of children comprehensively and yield the benefits that we know investment in early learning and care can provide is immediately available to the State. It is worthy of consideration by this committee.