Better Start

Better Start is a new Quality Development initiative of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), collaborating with the Early Years Education Policy Unit of the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and works to establish a cohesive approach to quality across the Early Childhood Education and Care sector in Ireland.

It is a national service, working in collaboration with City and County Childcare Committees and Voluntary Childcare Organisations to ensure that children in Ireland benefit from high quality early years services. Síolta, The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Aistear, The National Early Years Curriculum Framework are the national quality frameworks which underpin this work. These evidence-based frameworks are designed to support early years services to provide the best possible outcomes for children from birth to six years.

Better Start is hosted by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

The Better Start Quality Development Service

Better Start Quality Development Service is an additional resource to support and drive quality improvement. It provides a highly skilled and experienced Early Years Specialist team to work directly in a mentoring capacity with early years services, complementing and adding to other quality resources such as training, continuing professional development programmes, networking, cluster-type support groups and individual or team-based development work provided by the City and County Childcare Committees and the Voluntary Childcare Organisations. 

Requests for the service can be made through your local County Childcare Committees and will be processed centrally.  Early Years Specialists will be allocated to ECEC services on the basis of availability, skills and experience, as far as possible matching the service profile.

Further information is available at