The Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme is implemented by my Department and provides funding to community-based childcare services to enable them to provide childcare at reduced rates to disadvantaged and lower income families.
For the purpose of the CCS programme, disadvantage and low income are determined by reference to a range of means-tested allowances and payments including receipt of a social welfare payment, Family Income Supplement (FIS) and qualification for a medical or GP visit card. Eligibility for a GP visit card is based on net income and takes account of outgoings such as rent and mortgage repayments and other expenses including childcare costs and travelling expenses. As a result, parents with middle incomes may also benefit from subvention.
Parental returns are submitted by participating community childcare services to my Department following the commencement of each school year and the information in these returns is verified by the Department of Social Protection to determine the parents that are eligible for support under the programme. The information supplied in the returns submitted in September 2012, following the commencement of the 2012-2013 school year, is currently being collated and it is expected that a provisional figure for the number of children availing of the programme in this school year will be available shortly. In the school year 2011-2012 approximately 26,000 children were supported under the CCS programme.