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Budget 2020 should invest in children and families

Investment in Children and Families is an essential investment in our social and human capital now and into the future. Our Budget 2020 submission contains a number of costed proposals in this area.

To assist with the delivery of the European Pillar of Social Rights Work Life Balance initiative we are proposing an additional two weeks paternity leave at a cost of €12m and an additional two weeks of paid parental leave at a cost of €22m.

The provision of quality, affordable, accessible childcare for working parents is essential. Social Justice Ireland proposes that Government invest €85m in Budget 2020 to develop a new funding model for childcare provision. It should be based on elements of the ECCE scheme, separating affordability for families from wages and the professionalisation of the sector, thereby improving quality services for children and affordability for families. This model would allow providers to focus on improving and expanding the provision of high quality services for families.

Budget 2020 should allocate additional funding to Tusla of €50m for increased social provision for children and families, while increasing the resources available for the regulation of childminders by €2m.

We also propose an additional investment of €5m in funding for the Arts Council to embed arts and cultural participation as part of the ECCE framework. This investment would begin to address the large disparities in arts participation between children from different socio-economic backgrounds highlighted in the Growing up in Ireland Study.

Finally, Budget 2020 should increase the weekly allowance for children in Direct Provision to €31.80 in line with the QCI rate and expand the recently revised Student Support Scheme for Asylum Seekers. We urge further review of the criteria if there is no significant increased take-up. Total cost of these proposals in 2020 would less than €2m.