In its submission to the National Women’s Strategy, the PLC urged the greater provision of subsidized childcare places for parents on low income in second/ third level education. This suggestion is now repeated, as it is noted that the prioritizing of childcare on campus within Ireland’s third level institutions will facilitate the continuance of education by younger parents. This will in turn enable them to reach a higher level of employment, with all of the accompanying financial benefits.
It is important at this juncture to highlight the need to increase assistance for the Teen Parents Support Programme (TPSP) and the PLC notes that sufficient funding in this area will ensure that students are not prevented from achieving their educational goals due to a lack of funding. In this regard, the PLC recommends that any provisions contained in aspects of the TPSP should be removed so as to encourage students to return to full education as soon as possible. In particular, it is noted that some requirements of the Back To Education Allowance (BTEA) may pose difficulties for mothers under the age of 20 years who are in receipt of rent allowance and who must be two years’ out of formal education before they can avail of BTEA. In order to avoid a break of this nature, it is recommended that a positive change be made to this requirement in the Budget 2018.