First 5

First 5 is a whole-of-Government strategy to improve the lives of babies, young children and their families. It is a ten-year plan to help make sure all children have positive early experiences and get a great start in life.

The First 5 Strategy uses evidence to identify goals, objectives and the specific actions required from across Government to support children (and their families) in the early years of life. First 5 commits to major initiatives on family leave, children’s health services, parenting supports, child-friendly communities and Early Learning and Care services among a broad range of actions. The Strategy will significantly enhance early childhood and make a huge contribution to the lives of young children, society and the economy over the short, medium and long term. For more information, visit the First 5 website  

A vision for early childhood…

All babies’ and young children’s early years will be valued as a critical and distinct period which should be enjoyed. Families will be assisted and enabled to nurture babies and young children and support their development, with additional support for those who need it. Those providing services for babies, young children and their families will be equipped to contribute to their learning, development, health and wellbeing. Community contexts will help babies and young children make the most of their early years and fulfil their potential.

Together for Better


Together for Better is the new funding model for Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare.

Together for Better brings together three major elements, the Early Childhood Care and Education programme, including the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), the National Childcare Scheme and Core Funding. It implements a series of recommendations in the Expert Group report Partnership for the Public Good.

9 out of 10 Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare providers – over 4,100 services – have become Partner Services under Core Funding, committing to working in partnership with the State for the public good, and to a freeze on parental fees.

A list of Partner Services is available here: Partner Service List 15/03/23

My Little Library 2023


Roderic O’ Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, together with Heather Humphreys, Minister for Rural and Community Development, today launched #MyLittleLibrary2023.

This initiative, funded through Dormant Accounts Funding, offers a free book bag with storybooks for children and supportive information for parents for all children starting school in September 2023.
The aim of the initiative is that all children will start school with storybooks in their homes and as members of their local library.

This year’s initiative builds on the success of My Little Library 2022 when over 46,000 book bags
were distributed to children starting school, in their local library. The initiative resulted in over
37,000, 4 and 5-year-old children joining the library.


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