WRDA is co-convenor of the Childcare For All campaign with our partners Employers For Childcare. The campaign coalition is a network of organisations that have come together to call for universal, child-centred childcare that meets the needs of children, families, childcare workers and providers and helps create a more equal society. We have developed a Childcare For All Charter setting out our vision of a childcare system that is affordable, accessible, flexible, high quality, and which supports children’s education and development. We also want to see the value of childcare work recognised with decent pay and terms and conditions.
The campaign launched on 1st May in Parliament Buildings, hosted by Clare Bailey MLA. Our aims achieved support from all the parties who pledged to do what they could to work for progress despite their inability to bring forward legislation through Stormont.
A key focus of Childcare For All is to give a platform to parents and families affected by lack of access to childcare that is affordable or suitable for their child’s needs. We have been delighted to see the public get on board through social media, sharing their stories through childcare video diaries. We also held a family friendly launch in November 2018 in Mencap’s family centre at which we made a campaign video reflecting what our participants told us.
In March 2019, the Childcare for All Campaign hosted ‘Childcare Policy Development in NI: Exploring Drivers and Addressing Barriers’ in Riddel Hall, Belfast. The conference was sponsored by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and the Administrative Data Research Centre and brought together ninety participants from government departments including education, health and finance and diverse organisations who are concerned with child poverty, disability and gender equality. The key message from the event was that childcare policy in NI needs a radical rethink and significant investment and that all departments can work together to achieve this. Childcare For All has produced a conference paper from this event that summarises all the evidence presented and makes recommendations about how policy makers and politicians can make progress towards better childcare policy.