Written Answers. - Child Care Funding.

Frances Fitzgerald

Question:

936 Ms Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the amount allocated by his Department to assist in the development of child care places in 1999 and 2000 to date. [20517/00]

My Department provides funding to support the development of child care under the Equal Opportunities Child Care Programme. The Programme was developed in 1998 and was allocated £6 million for the two year period 1998 and 1999 which included the following supports for child care places: capital infrastructure – capital grants to 106 community based child care projects. Total amount approved was £2,575,200; community support initiative – grants towards the cost of two senior child care workers in each of 25 community based flagship child care projects. Total amount approved was £2,000,000. This is paid over two years; employer demonstration initiative – funding for employer involvement in the development of eight projects, comprising 21 employers. Total amount approved was £842,000.

The balance of the funding was expended on the development of the National Child Care Census, research into child care training and administration costs.

In June 1999 my Department secured a further £5 million from the European Social Fund for training and development purposes. The funding supported the training and development of personnel in projects which had secured capital and staffing grants, local partnerships and community groups. In addition grants were provided to six national voluntary child care organisations to support development of their services to their membership base.

More recently, my Department's Equal Opportunities Child Care Programme has been allocated £250 million under the National Development Plan, 2000 to 2006 which will be invested in the following child care measures: capital grants to community groups and not-for-profit organisations for building, renovating and upgrading child care facilities; staffing grants for the community based child care services; capital grants for self-employed child care providers catering for not more than 20 children at any one time; grants towards the development of local child care networks; support for local training models to assist in the enhancement of quality child care provision; supports to enhance the development of the national voluntary child care organisations; and support for innovative projects identified over the course of the national development plan.

Since I launched the funding measures on 28 April 2000 my Department has received 304 applications for funding. I have arranged for the monthly appraisal of applications during this year to ensure that they are processed as quickly as is practical. To date I have approved 94 applications to the value of £8.34 million.