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Minister publishes 2023 progress report for First 5, the whole of government strategy for babies, children and their families

Minister publishes 2023 progress report for First 5, the whole of government strategy for babies, children and their familiesMay be an image of 1 person and text
From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’ Gorman, has today published the First 5 Annual Implementation Report 2023.

First 5, the ten-year Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families (2019-2028) was published in November 2018 setting out an ambitious programme of work over ten years to improve services and supports to young children. The second implementation plan for the strategy, covering the period 2023-2025, was published last year.

The report published today summarises recent progress in implementing the strategy, with 80% of all 2023 commitments met at this point and 95% expected to be met by year end. The Report also outlines key achievements from 2023 including:

• Additional funding was secured in Budget 2024 to extend Parent’s Leave and Benefit by an additional two weeks, bringing the total entitlement to Parent’s Leave to nine weeks with effect from August 2024;

• The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act was enacted introducing the right to request flexible working for parents and carers and extending breastfeeding breaks for working mothers from six months to two years;

• New measures were introduced under Supporting Parents: The National Model of Parenting Support Services;

• A Steering Group was convened by the Department of Health to recommence work on the establishment of a dedicated child health workforce;

• Funding of €1.109 billion was secured in Budget 2024, representing an €83 million (8%) increase on the 2023 budget allocation. Through this funding, there will be improved affordability for parents, improved availability and quality of early learning and childcare provision and additional supports for children with a disability and for children experiencing disadvantage.;

• New measures to tackle early childhood poverty were developed, including Equal Start the major new model of Government-funded supports to ensure children experiencing disadvantage can access and meaningfully participate in early learning and childcare.

Speaking about today’s publication, Minister O’ Gorman said:

“As Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, I am delighted to publish the First 5 Annual Implementation Report 2023 and share an update on the very considerable progress that has been made to deliver on our 2023 commitments.”

The Minister also welcomed the continued collaborative efforts and shared ambition to deliver on the vision of First 5 across Government Departments, State Agencies and the Community and Voluntary sector and reiterated Government’s continued commitment to First 5.

Minister O’ Gorman said:

“There remains an ambitious agenda ahead over the lifetime of First 5 – to 2028 – and I look forward to continuing to this work with colleagues across Government.

“I am confident that, with continued cross-Government collaboration, we will build on our First 5 successes to date to ensure all children have a strong and equal start and the opportunities in life to fulfil their potential."


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