Chairperson’s Note Summer 2021

Dear Members

I hope you are all doing well. By now, I'm sure many of you have received at least one dose of vaccine and some are fully vaccinated. It has been a very difficult time for our sector. Many of you have had to close your service temporarily and many more worked through Level 5 providing essential childcare for front-line workers. Hopefully, we are heading into better times, but for the single handed childminder, it has been a very difficult period. The constant cleaning regimes, masks, hand-washing, and the worry every morning as you open up your family home to your mindees. The amount of times during the day when you think, "did he just cough?" "is she warmer than usual?" "where did they go for the weekend?" are worries that you carry alone. There is no staff meeting to discuss these thoughts, share the burden of worry, and support you.

It was truly wonderful to see the support you gave and received on the Facebook Members Forum page, whether it was a query, a rant, or a good laugh, members supported each other through the darkest days of the pandemic. I would also like to thank the staff of Childminding Ireland who worked through weekends, and evenings in addition to their working day, providing support, and seeking clarity for members during all the changes that the various levels of lock-down brought. We are not out of the woods yet, but with vaccination, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Take a bow everyone, we've made it this far.

We had hoped that we could all get together in October for our AGM but in light of the current uncertainty around the Delta strain, we have decided that it would be safer to proceed with planning for another AGM via Zoom. We will have more information on this over the coming months.

As you are aware, the Department are engaged in two pieces of work that will affect childminding. The National Action Plan was launched by Minister O' Gorman in April. The Action Plan Advisory Groups have yet to be set up. Childminding Ireland are pushing very hard for childminders to be influencing the decisions. Childminders are the experts on childminding. The Workforce Development Plan (WDP) is also being developed, one aspect of which is to look at qualifications within childcare including childminding, and we are concerned that recommendations to be made by the WDP will negatively impact on the Action Plan implementation.  As a result, Childminding Ireland has withdrawn from the process and is currently in negotiations with the Department on how to move forward.

I wish you all a great summer, filled with sunshine (hopefully - not much yet here in the west!).

 

Mary Walsh

Chairperson