Applications for support payments open ahead of Irish National Childcare Scheme
Approximately AU$30 million in funding (€19 million) has been made available for early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in Ireland to support them as they prepare for a landmark new scheme representing the first ever statutory requirement to give financial support for childcare in the country.
Irish Federal Minister for Youth and Children’s Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone said that National Childcare Scheme would establish “an equitable and progressive system of universal and income related subsidies for children up to the age of 15”.
Dr Zappone said the scheme will also feature “an innovative and user friendly online application process to access the subsidies”, The scheme has the ultimate aim of improving children’s outcomes, supporting lifelong learning, reducing child poverty, and “tangibly reducing the cost of quality childcare for thousands of families across Ireland”.
The €19 million support payments fund will be made available to early learning and care and school age childcare providers offering state supported childcare during the European summer months (June, July and August).
Dr Zappone said the Programme Support Payment recognises the additional time required of providers of Department of Children and Youth Affairs funded early learning and care and school age childcare programmes, to complete the administrative work associated with the scheme.
The payment also recognises the time required to perform activities outside of contact time with children, such as preparing materials for early learning and care sessions and assisting parents in understanding how they might benefit from the various schemes supported by the government.
“By working together parents, providers and the government are transforming Irish childcare forever. These payments represent a significant investment and recognition of the work carried out by services, often behind the scenes. Work which must not be taken for granted,” Dr Zappone said.
More than 175,000 Irish children and families benefit from government-supported childcare through more than 4,200 local services.
More information about the incoming scheme reforms may be accessed here.