Everyone agrees that the Early Years sector should be affordable, accessible, high quality with decent pay.
Most people also know that what is needed is seriously increased state funding for community and private providers.
At the moment, that remains very far from the reality but, with a strong enough collective voice, we can start to make change happen.
The cost of Early Years services in Ireland are among the highest in Europe, an average of over €750 per child per month. However most Early Years Educators are earning less than the living wage.
It is clear that the current funding model is broken.
Tax credits have been proposed to reduce costs but they will do nothing to address quality or pay.
We need to make a real investment in the future of children by increasing spending to 1% of GDP on Early Years as recommended by the OECD. This will ensure decent pay, sustainable services and high quality for children.
This is why SIPTU is committed to working with providers, academics, NGOs and other stakeholders to set out a new vision for Early Years and transform how it is funded.