Visit the new Supporting Parents website delivered under First5

The First5 Big Steps are major changes, planned under the Strategy, to give children the best start in life. 

‘First 5’ was first launched in 2019, and covers the period up to 2028.

The latest Implementation Plan describes the ambitious steps that will be taken over the period 2023 to 2025 to ensure children get the best start in life.



1. By 2028, parents will be supported to look after their babies at home for the whole of first year through a combination of paid family leave schemes.

2. A 2% increase annually in breastfeeding duration rates (in line with the target set in the National Breastfeeding Action Plan)

3. By 2028, all regulated childminders will have achieved a minimum training requirement, and a minimum qualification requirement will be introduced for school-age childcare with an appropriate lead-in time. The early learning and care workforce will be graduate-led, with at least 50% of staff working directly with children in centre-based early learning and care settings holding an appropriate degree-level qualification.

4. Between 2023 and 2028, Ireland will work to close the existing gap in public investment in early learning and care against the EU average.

5. By 2028, there will be 60,000 state-funded early learning and care places for children under 3.

6. Between 2023 and 2028, Ireland will work to close the existing gap in net early learning and care costs, as percentage of household disposable income, against the EU average.

7. By 2028, uptake rates to the ECCE programme or an equivalent pre-primary programme by Traveller and Roma children will be more closely aligned to the national average.