Childcare and crèche fees will be capped to ensure the same level of care regardless of parental income under a new approach contained in the draft programme for government.

The leaders of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party are to meet tomorrow morning to sign off on the programme for government document after talks concluded without agreement tonight.

The document will pledge to speed up a process that would ultimately lead to a new State-led model of childcare in Ireland, based on what is provided in Norway.

It also includes a commitment to extend parental leave and measures to increase flexibility including the expansion of payments like the Affordable Childcare Scheme to cover childminders as well as crèches. 

The draft programme also commits to the establishment of a childcare agency which will ensure more transparency around fees and inspections. 

The document also provides for an outreach services for speech and language, occupational and other therapies so that they can be provided in crèches and childcare settings. 

There are currently huge backlogs in assessment for and the provision of these services by the HSE in many areas.

The document also recognises that early intervention is vital for a child's overall development. 


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