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The government is bound to the protection of children and the promotion of their wellbeing by numerous national and international policy documents and agreements, including Better Outcomes Brighter Futures, First 5, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and the latest EU Child Guarantee. The lack of capacity (space, staffing numbers, finances, resources) within ECL facilities and services for SAC is a systemic flaw which undermines the ability of government to fulfil these obligations. The lack of capacity counteracts the goal of accessibility stated in Better Outcomes Brighter Futures. It impedes the realization of the first objective identified in First 5: to foster strong and supportive families and communities as a means to enable parents to balance work and caring roles. Lastly, the EU Child Guarantee introduced in 2021 recommends that member states guarantee that children have effective and free access to early childhood education and care. Clearly the dearth of spaces in such services is a practical issue which must be addressed if the government can reasonably expect to effectuate this recommendation.

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