Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Health
580. To ask the Minister for Health if his Department has carried out an evaluation of the potential to introduce a scheme similar to the UK scheme Healthy Start here; if such a scheme could be introduced here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10949/20]
The UK Healthy Start Programme is a welfare scheme and is part of a suite of supports aimed at pregnant mothers and mothers of young children where families are provided with vouchers to buy milk, fruit, vegetables and vitamin supplements.
First 5 is our whole-of-Government Strategy and it aims to improve the lives of babies, young children and their families. It is a ten-year plan to help make sure all children have positive early experiences and get a great start in life. A key deliverable of First 5 is a package of measures to tackle early childhood poverty. To help achieve this, my Department is leading work with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and other Government Departments on Healthy Eating Guidelines for 1-5 year olds and on Nutrition Standards for food provided in the Early Learning and Care system.
In addition, the Government’s Roadmap for Social Inclusion (2020-2025): Ambitions, Goals, Commitments includes a commitment to consider how progress in reducing child poverty can be accelerated.
My Department, together with the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs and Education and Skills has provided a Healthy Ireland Smart Start Health Promotion Pre-school Programme since 2015 which includes education on healthy eating.