The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has said significant money went into the area of childcare over the last five years, but parents did not see a reduction in fees and childcare professionals did not see an increase in their take-home pay.

At a briefing about Budget 2021, Minister Roderic O'Gorman was asked why there was no additional investment into Early Years Education and Afterschool care, given that the costs of childcare in Ireland are among the highest in the EU.

The Minister said an expert funding model would be established to ensure that funding will go to those working in the sector and that a reduction in fees to parents are achieved.

He said there would be more investment in the National Childcare Scheme in Budget 2022 which will further these goals.

The Minister welcomed the €61 million increase in funds to Tusla in Budget 2021 - the largest increase since the Child and Family Agency was established in 2014 - he said the fund will protect vulnerable families and address costs regarding residential care.

It will also support community and voluntary services delivering on behalf of Tusla including in areas such as domestic violence and separately, unaccompanied minors.

The Minister said the €225m allocated to Direct Provision is necessary because it will go towards operating the existing service while working towards ending it.

This, he said, would take time to end Direct Provision because those in the system at the moment need to be accommodated.

He said the new system will include vulnerable assessments, an independent inspection regime and monitory elements such as access to work sooner than is currently permitted.

The Minister confirmed an increase of €5m for Youth Services to €70m in 2021.

He described youth services as the unsung heroes of the pandemic, that moved online and ensured service users were able to cope.

He said €5m was a small amount which would go a "huge way".

There will also be an extra 25% funding for Traveller and Roma groups as part of the department's integration strategy.

There will also be funding for refugee and migrants as part of the National Inclusion strategy.


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