I thank the Chair for her kind words and congratulate her on her appointment as Chair of this committee. I look forward to working with her and all members of the select committee and joint committee on both the financial matters in my Department and on the busy legislative schedule that we will have over, hopefully, the next years.
I look forward to the committee's input and working closely with it. I am open to engagement with all members on various pieces of legislation. We have had a turbulent year and this is finally a good opportunity for me to speak to the committee today about the Department's Vote.
I am speaking today about the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and we have not completed the transfer of functions to the new Department. The first set of those functions is due to be completed in the next number of weeks and I will speak to the committee about those, probably after the budget.
The Revised Estimate for my Department for 2020 provides for taxpayer investment of €1.6 billion and this represents a €91 million or 6% increase in the Department's 2019 allocation. As such, in total my Department is spending €1.578 billion on current expenditure and €38 million on capital expenditure in 2020.
At the outset I acknowledge the huge work of my Department and the agencies working within it have done in the context of Covid-19, particularly with the impact of the virus on the early learning and care sector and Tusla. Throughout the pandemic Tusla has continued to provide front-line services and in the early learning and care sector my Department worked with providers and childcare professionals to put in place supports to sustain the sector and retain capacity to the greatest extent possible while trying to keep parental fees as low as possible. There has been provision for €109.5 million in supports for the sector in respect of Covid-19 along with a provision of €8 million in support for Tusla for Covid-related costs.
Funding for much of this has come from savings that arise from the temporary suspension of childcare schemes in March and other areas in the Vote have also been responding to the challenges presented by the pandemic, particularly youth justice and the youth services sector. Great work has been done in youth services and all sectors in my Department and the relevant agencies have had to be very innovative in their response to Covid-19.
The committee has been provided with a brief of the Department's Vote, in which we have set out the funding allocations across different programmes, along with a summary by subhead to include details of the allocation and any changes from 2019.
I will briefly expand on the two largest areas, which are Tusla and early learning and care, before going to the wider discussion. Approximately half the Vote is targeted towards public services that protect our children and provide for their welfare and the Department's Estimate provided for €825 million for Tusla, including €8 million for Covid-related costs. That was an increase of €17 million, or 2%, over the 2019 allocation. Tusla, in recent years, has experienced an increase in demand for its services and this has led to budgetary pressures on the agency. In particular, private residential care has experienced significant increased demand. Costs have increased year-on-year since 2016 and in 2019 a Supplementary Estimate of €15 million was required due to the increase in residential care costs in Tusla. In 2020 this continues to be an area of pressure and my Department is working closely with Tusla on the effective management of its 2020 budget allocation.
The other big part of my Department's Vote is early learning and care, and this has an overall allocation of €630 million this year. This represents a €59 million increase, or a 10% increase over 2019. This was primarily for the first full year's application of the national childcare scheme, NCS. As has been mentioned, the childcare schemes were temporarily suspended in March and we know they have resumed. Funding provided for 2020 will see an increase to the minimum and maximum number of available hours under the NCS from September this year. The minimum hours will go from 15 hours to 20 hours and a the maximum hours will go from 40 hours to 45 hours. This enhancement will support working families needing school-age childcare and children whose parents are not in work or study, or who may be at higher risk of poverty, will benefit from additional hours of early childhood education.
As a result of the pandemic, my Department has developed new funding streams to support this sector. In March, with the closure of schools and crèches, the early childhood care and education, ECCE, scheme and other childcare schemes were suspended. My Department worked across government to develop supports linked to the wider Government initiatives, such as the temporary wage subsidy scheme and, subsequently, the employee wage subsidy scheme, along with specific capital and Covid reopening packages.
Deputies will see in the Estimate for the area that a new subhead has been created, B11, early learning and care and school age childcare Covid-related supports. That is a very significant subhead which we will look at in more detail later on, no doubt. These supports have been important in helping providers to retain experienced staff and to facilitate the successful reopening of services. During the lifetime of this Government I hope to do further work to reduce the cost of childcare for parents and to improve the services provided.
I wish to briefly speak on legislation. I am pursuing certain legislation as a matter of priority. I have spoken to some members of this committee about the recently introduced general scheme of a Bill to safeguard the general archive of records and the database of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and allow for its transfer to Tusla. This was advanced further at Cabinet today and I will be publishing that Bill shortly. I hope to bring it to the Seanad next week and subsequently to this committee. Work on a review of the Child Care Act is also under way in my Department. Changes to that Act are needed to reflect societal developments, the establishment of Tusla and other developments. In due course I hope to seek the Government's approval to develop a general scheme and heads of Bill for an Act amending the Child Care Act.
As mentioned earlier, the Department is expanding significantly and the new areas under its remit will fall within the remit of this committee too. I am looking forward to that and to some of the really exciting actions that we can work on together over the next number of years. The significant increase in resources provided in the 2020 Vote allows services to continue and has also allowed for targeted developments and improvements in certain areas, particularly the national childcare scheme. My Department and I will continue to work closely with Tusla, the early learning and care sector, the youth sector and all of the different stakeholders to achieve the best possible outcomes for children, young people and their families with the resources we have been given. I thank Deputies for their attention and look forward to their questions.