Early years childcare in Waterford is more affordable than elsewhere but there is a problem with capacity, a new study has shown.
A national survey of childcare facilities has found that full-day fees have risen by an average of €7 to a national average of €174 per week.
In Waterford the average full-time weekly cost is 148 euro.
The report also shows that childcare staff in Waterford are paid the national average of just under 12 euro an hour, are well qualified and don’t move jobs as freqeuntly as they do elsewhere.
CEO of the Waterford Childcare Committee is Rose Murphy – she says while the cost of childcare is significant for families, it’s not as high as elsewhere. However, Rose says the concentration on providing places for the free pre-school scheme, has meant fewer places being available for younger children:
“The deficit in Waterford is in catering for the under-3s… Our experience here is that many services in order to respond to the demand for free pre-school is that they may offer a second session in the afternoon or they may change a toddler room into a pre-school room in order to cater to demand, which then effects the provision for the under three age group”.
Rose says the Government will have to do something to help address the gaps in service provision.