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Childcare sector crucial to recovery in NI

NILGA’s President, Councillor Frances Burton, has called for an urgent review of support for the Childcare Industry in NI having received clear data on the value – and fragility – of this sector to the economy and wellbeing of the region.

Speaking on the issue today, Councillor Frances Burton stated: “With 60,000 registered places across NI, without doubt there is public recognition of the importance of childcare in its various forms in normal society but particularly now, as part of getting our country safely back to work. The recognition can be cemented with greater policy clarity and with resources.

“As the childcare needs of children and their parents are central to physical / mental health, to wellbeing and to economic renewal, I would support many of the recommendations made by Early Years, the independent childcare group.

NILGA endorses the view that childcare should be recognised as an integral component to the Executive’s Five Stage recovery plan and sees great benefit in the Departments of Finance, Health and Education working together, supported by local information drawn from providers across NI, so that further support can be targeted where there is greatest need.”

Councillor Burton has requested that NILGA’s all council Health, Social and Environmental Wellbeing Policy & Learning Network, in June, works with its Economy Network to ensure that an integrated, locally informed, cross council needs analysis is done – with input from the childcare sector itself.

Councillor Burton added, “As a mother and as an elected member, I know how fragile yet vital the sector is for those who rely on its services, for the diligent employees playing yet another essential Covid front line role and for the safe, economic and emotional recovery Northern Ireland needs at this time”.