The cost of full time childcare has increased by over €7 to €174.16 per week, according to a new Pobal report.
The 2016/2017 Early Years Sector Profile report also found that the average qualification level of childcare staff has increased.
At the county level, fees are highest in Dublin - Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown across all three service types with (€228.34, €128.65 and €90.14). Leitrim has the lowest average fee for a full-time place at €142.77, Carlow for a part-time place at €63.11 and Leitrim for a sessional place at €58.68.
The report states that in total there are estimated to be over 186,000 children attending early years services across Ireland. The number of children availing of government funded childcare places increased by 41% to over 147k in the last 12 months.
The childcare sector employs over 27,000 staff, almost 24,000 of whom work with children. The average qualification level of childcare staff has increased, with 92% qualified to NFQ level 5 (up 4%) and 63% to level 6 (up 6%).
Half of all childcare staff work part-time, while two in five work seasonal contracts.
On average, childcare staff earn €11.93 per hour; half of these comprising of early years assistants earning an average of €10.88 per hour. The staff turnover rate in the last 12 months was 28.2%.
The report is based on survey responses from 3,707 services (84% of all childcare facilities) in May 2017 and information from the childcare ICT system (PIP).
Speaking at the launch of the report, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone thanked Pobal for their work and noted that, “this report adds to the growing body of evidence needed to target increased investment in early years.
“It provides insights on other important policy priorities, like affordability, sustainability and quality, and will be critical in guiding this rapidly expanding sector in future years.”
Denis Leamy, Pobal CEO added, “the Early Years Sector Profile, which Pobal has published for the last 15 years, is a definitive source of accurate and factual information on the sector and I would like to thank the childcare services that gave their time to respond to the survey.
“I am very proud of Pobal’s development of this report to assist our colleagues in Government in their role as policy makers. It is also an important information source in the national discussion on the direction of childcare in the future.”