Minister O’Gorman publishes First 5 Spotlight Report

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, has today published a report, which collates data in relation to the goals and objectives of the First 5 Strategy (2019-2028).

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

“This report provides us with a comprehensive evidence base that can inform the ongoing implementation of the First 5 strategy, a whole of government strategy to improve the lives of babies, young children and families over a ten year period up to 2028. By providing all the available data in one publication, the spotlight holds government objectives to account. It shines a light on where targets are on track and also points us in the direction of where more work is required to give effect to the ambitious goals we have set to support families and communities and make sure babies and young children get a great start in life and have positive early experiences.”

Some of the key findings from the report are:

  • in 2016, there were 403,919 children aged 5 and under living in Ireland, accounting for 8.5% of the population. It is estimated that this figure dropped to 365,617 children in 2021
  • the percentage of children aged 5 and under living in jobless households has decreased from Q4 2018 to Q4 2021
  • the share of households with children aged 5 and under that availed of some form of remote working increased from 10% pre-COVID to 46% post-COVID
  • the number of children referred to a Family Support Service decreased from 2019 to 2021, although the percentage of referred children who received a service increased during this time, as did the number of Child and Family Support Networks
  • the at-risk of poverty rate; consistent poverty rate; and deprivation rate among this age group (0-5) all experienced a large reduction from 2017 to 2021
  • the share of children aged 5 and under experiencing food poverty also decreased between 2017 and 2019, although the percentage experiencing energy poverty increased during this time
  • the mean length of a maternity stay in hospital from 2017-2019 was 2.7 days for maternities with non-preterm infants, and ranged from 12.5-12.8 days for maternities with preterm infants
  • mothers born in the EU15 (excluding Ireland and the UK) had the highest rates of exclusive breastfeeding at discharge during this time, while mothers born in Ireland had the lowest rates
  • acute bronchiolitis was the most common in-patient diagnosis among this age group in 2018 and 2019, while disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight were the most common in 2020
  • the number of children aged 5 and under on in-patient waiting lists increased from 2019 to 2021; and the number waiting more than one year almost doubled during this time
  • the percentage of ELC and SAC staff with a level 7 qualification or higher increased between 2018/19 and 2020/21
  • the number of children enrolled in ELC settings and the number of children on ELC waiting lists have both increased from 2016/17 to 2018/19
  • the percentage of children in mainstream junior infant classes who came from a childcare setting or pre-primary education increased from 2018/19 to 2020/21
  • the most common ethnicity among entrants to junior infants from 2018 to 2020 was “white Irish”, while the least common was “black/black Irish with a non-African background”

You can read the Press Release on the DCEDIY website here 

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