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Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2015

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Bills\Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2015\Second Stage

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Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2015

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Senator Marie Moloney

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Marie Moloney

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Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2015
Bills
Snippet Contents:

I welcome the Minister, Deputy Reilly, to the House. He seems to be a regular visitor here these days but we will never complain about that.
Like Senator van Turnhout, I will concentrate on the aftercare but, first, I will refer to the revised preschool regulations which are being finalised. I very much welcome this. It seems incredible that the inspectors would have to rely on the consent of the providers to carry out an inspection. However, I heard a radio programme in which a preschool provider and crèche stated that there were not enough inspectors to carry out the inspections and sometimes the inspections were years apart or may not have been carried out. I merely wanted to ask the Minister whether there are enough inspectors in place to provide these inspections to preschools. With the provision of the second preschool year, I have been speaking to some providers who say they do not have the accommodation to provide the second year and it will pose a problem, but that is another day's work.
I welcome the Bill. This is a much-needed Bill which puts aftercare on a statutory footing. With this Bill, the aftercare provisions for eligible children who are transitioning to eligible adults will be strengthened and enhanced.
While this Bill may not have all the answers, it certainly is a definite step in the right direction. Now young adults who have been in foster care or residential care will have a defined care plan which will help them with their future and their induction into adulthood, which can be quite daunting for many, especially those who may not be in a sustainable family unit.
Those first few years of adulthood are vital and can mould one's future. Now the Child and Family Agency is obliged to put in place, on request, an aftercare provision to assist young adults of 18, 19 and 20 years and for those who are in further education whose provisions can continue up to the age of 23 or the end of the academic year. As it has been stated already that there are 400 or 500 young people leaving State care every year, it is good to see that 1,720 young adults are still availing of the service and 59% of them are in full-time education.