One in 10 childcare services in Ireland have refused a child with special needs because they cannot cater for them.
The Oireachtas Health Committee is looking at the cost of childcare, as Irish parents pay double that of their European counterparts.
A survey has found parents need to earn €30,000 a year just to cover the cost of two children. The average cost is €700 per month per child, rising to €1,000 in urban centres
CEO of Early Childhood Ireland, Teresa Heeney, said she expects around €100 million will be allocated in the next budget to help alleviate the crisis, but a decision has to be made on where that money should go.
The funds could be spend in several ways, including reducing costs for parents, to ensure salaries for teachers — or to dedicate additional funds to children with special needs.
The Deputy Chief Executive of the Children's Rights Alliance, Maria Corbett, said a survey has found that many services cannot deal with children with special needs, and more funding is needed to upskill staff.
"11%of early-year services admit they had to refuse a child with additional needs," she said.
"We're not talking about refusal because they don't feel it's appropriate for the child to be there, but that they felt they were unable to meet the needs of the child within that setting.
"That is such a disheartening thing to hear … that parents approached the service [and] wanted to include their child, but it wasn't possible."