A strategy designed to give every child in the Isle of Man the best possible start in life has been unanimously supported by Tynwald.
The Childcare Strategy 2022 aims to put the child first and deliver better outcomes through improved access to early years’ education. It also aims to provide childcare professionals with a clear vision for the future and address issues faced by parents and carers, such as affordability, flexibility and accessibility.
A child's early years are the foundation for their future development, providing a strong base for cognitive and social development there by building the foundations for lifelong learning.
The draft strategy was updated following feedback from a public consultation in April, which revealed parents two main concerns were lack of childcare places and cost.
Currently there are around 2,000 childcare spaces available on the Island, which are provisioned through a mixture of day care and childminding services.
Julie Edge MHK, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, said:
‘I am delighted that Tynwald has supported this important strategy, which aims to give all children the best possible start in life whilst offering much needed support to working families.
‘The strategy will offer parents and carers more choices and enable them to access childcare that meets their individual needs and help those who wish to return to work, to do so.
‘We made a commitment to submit a Childcare Strategy through ‘Our Island Plan’ and I am pleased we have been able to meet this commitment.’
The first action, which was also supported by Tynwald on Tuesday, will see the universal pre-school credit increased to help make places more affordable.
Alongside this a consultation has been launched to seek views on the introduction of a number of family leave rights, such as shared parental leave, which will close on 26 August.
A cross-government delivery group will now be formed to ensure each action is delivered successfully, within an agreed timescale.