Background

On the 18th November, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James Reilly, T.D., together with Jan O’Sullivan, TD, Minister for Education and Skills, and Kathleen Lynch, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health, launched a major, new model to support access to the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme for children with a disability.

The model involves seven levels of progressive support to enable the full inclusion and meaningful participation of children with disabilities in the ECCE setting. These supports, which move from
universal to highly targeted based on the needs of the child, include: the development of an inclusive culture; enhanced continuing professional development for early years practitioners; grants for
equipment, appliances and minor alterations; access to therapeutic intervention and increased capitation for children with very complex needs. Implementation oversight structures have been established.
These include a Cross-Sectoral Implementation Group, chaired at Assistant Secretary level, a Cross-Sectoral Project Team, chaired at PO level and several supporting working groups.