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National Childhood Network (NCN)

First Five


First Five National Strategy

First Five is the National Early Years Strategy for Ireland.  It is a whole of government strategy to provide babies, children, and young people with the best possible start in life.  First 5 | A Government Strategy For Babies & Young Children

The strategy plays an important role across many areas such as access for parents in work and supports for parents in child health and development.  The strategy also looks at the reform of the early childhood care and education system through affordability, accessibility and quality.

First Five sets out a 50% graduate led workforce by 2028, the extension of regulations to childminders and school age childcare settings, the new funding model for ECCE and a package of supports to tackle child poverty.

First 5 Big Steps

  • Access to a broader range of options for parents to balance working and caring
  • A new model of parenting support
  • New developments in child health
  • Reform of the Early Learning and Care (ELC) system
  • A package of measures to tackle early childhood poverty

National Curricular and quality frameworks/guidelines

National Policy


Parents have a right to time off work to look after their children. Parents have several different types of statutory leave entitlements.

Click here to find out more:                       


Many mothers continue to breastfeed when they go back to work after maternity leave.  Here is some information that may support you to do so:




Victims of domestic violence to receive full pay as part of new domestic violence leave measures.

See this press release for further information: