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Press Release - Family Resource Centre National Forum calls for childcare staff to be prioritised in vaccine rollout

PRESS RELEASE
Thursday, 21st January 2021
Family Resource Centre National Forum calls for childcare staff to be prioritised in vaccine rollout
The Family Resource Centres National Forum (FRCNF), the national representative body for Family Resource Centres (FRCs) in Ireland, is calling on the Government to prioritise childcare staff in the national vaccine rollout.
The Family Resource Centre programme is the largest community-based family support programme in Ireland.  Through a network of 121 FRCs, it employs over 600 childcare staff who care for 2,500 children.
Currently, the Covid-19 vaccine priority rollout includes childcare and early years educators in group 11 out of 15. The FRCNF is calling on the Government to move their access to vaccines to allocation group 4, alongside ‘other healthcare workers not in direct patient contact’.
The call has come amid concerns that staff are having to deliver services ‘unprotected’ as the Government has classed childcare for vulnerable children and children of essential workers as an essential service.
Commenting today, Clare Cashman, Chair of the FRCNF, said: “Childcare and early years practitioners provide an integral frontline service. On-site provision resumed in June 2020 and has continued to operate since, and most notably on 4th January this year, during a peak in virus transmission, essential childcare services resumed. It is a matter of urgency that childcare staff are prioritised in the vaccine rollout, so they can be kept safe at work and continue to provide childcare for other essential workers and vulnerable children.
“Although childcare has been deemed low risk, evidence provided by the HSE shows a higher rate of infection in childcare settings compared to primary and post-primary. Our childcare teams are in a unique position of being frontline workers as they are unable to socially distance from the children. The Government must recognise the vital role they are playing in the pandemic, and if priority is not given to childcare workers, childcare for essential workers and vulnerable children could be under threat, as facilities may be forced to close.”
The Family Resource Centre programme has been in operation for over 25 years, and is currently funded by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.  Further information is available at www.familyresource.ie.
ENDS
Contact: Niamh Breathnach / Sorcha Mac Mahon, Alice PR & Events, Tel: 085-1461231 /087-7585337, Email: media@alicepr.com
Notes to Editors:
Follow the FRCNF on Twitter, @frcnf, #SupportingFRCs. 
 
 

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