Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1187)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1187. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of AIM grants provided to each county since 2015, by AIM level and year, in tabular form. [13275/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), which was launched in June 2016, is a model of supports designed to ensure that children with disabilities can access the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme. Its goal is to empower pre-school providers to deliver an inclusive pre-school experience, ensuring that every eligible child can meaningfully participate in the ECCE programme and reap the benefits of quality early years care and education.

AIM is a child-centred model, involving seven levels of progressive support, moving from the universal to the targeted, based on the needs of the child in the context of the pre-school setting they are attending. AIM is administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Applications for grants or funding may fall under Levels 1, 5 or 7 of AIM.

AIM Level 1 recognises that a strong culture of inclusion must be fostered and embedded to support all children’s maximum participation in the ECCE programme. This includes the new higher education programme in Leadership for Inclusion in the Early Years (LINC), established in 2016 with provision for 900 students annually for four years. Pre-school settings employing an Inclusion Coordinator (who has graduated from LINC and has agreed to take on the role of Inclusion Coordinator (INCO) in the pre-school setting) will receive an increase of €2 per child per week in the rate of ECCE capitation payable to that setting.

AIM Level 5 provides for access to specialised equipment, appliances, assistive technology and/or minor alterations capital grants for early years’ settings to ensure children with a disability can participate in the ECCE programme. A short report from a designated professional is required confirming that the specialised equipment or minor building alterations are necessary.

AIM Level 7 provides additional assistance in the pre-school room where this is critical to ensuring a child’s participation in the ECCE programme. In line with emerging best practice to support the integration and independence of children with a disability, AIM does not fund Special Needs Assistants (SNAs). Rather, it provides financial support to the pre-school provider, which can be used either to reduce the adult to child ratio in the pre-school room or to buy in additional assistance to the pre-school room. Accordingly, Level 7 assistance is a shared resource for the pre-school setting.

The table shows data provided by Pobal regarding the number of grants approved under AIM Levels 1, 5 and 7 by county since AIM was launched.

County

AIM Level 1 - INCO capitation

AIM Level 5 (Minor Alterations Capital Grants only)

AIM Level 7

No. of Applications approved ECCE 2017/2018

No. of Applications approved ECCE 2018/2019 (to date)

No. of Applications approved ECCE 2016/2017

No. of Applications approved ECCE 2017/2018

No. of Applications approved ECCE 2018/2019 (to date)

No. of Applications approved ECCE 2016/2018

No. of Applications approved ECCE 2017/2018

No. of Applications approved ECCE 2018/2019 (to date)

Carlow

10

23

14

41

58

Cavan

4

22

2

2

30

53

62

Clare

29

39

6

5

67

97

105

Cork

102

151

1

11

10

200

452

544

Donegal

48

50

6

3

5

76

119

129

Dublin

113

241

2

3

3

226

634

855

Galway

34

85

1

2

1

79

156

167

Kerry

49

52

2

5

1

61

122

136

Kildare

41

68

1

70

134

152

Kilkenny

15

28

1

25

51

60

Laois

16

25

2

2

36

73

81

Leitrim

6

8

2

1

5

19

19

Limerick

62

68

3

2

82

149

204

Longford

5

13

15

14

20

Louth

13

31

1

34

100

158

Mayo

24

42

1

2

23

84

99

Meath

28

63

1

3

33

136

197

Monaghan

13

15

20

28

36

Offaly

10

18

1

25

68

80

Roscommon

19

22

2

1

13

37

41

Sligo

13

20

1

12

29

43

Tipperary

24

58

1

3

1

56

120

154

Waterford

19

27

1

2

33

54

87

Westmeath

15

26

1

20

46

66

Wexford

24

51

1

1

2

57

123

133

Wicklow

12

38

1

20

70

78

Grand Total

748

1284

27

42

43

1332

3009

3764

Note on Level 1 data: There were no Inclusion Coordinators (INCOs) working in the early years sector in the 2016/2017 ECCE year as students from the first intake onto LINC became eligible to work as INCOs following their graduation in autumn 2017, i.e. in the 2017/2018 ECCE year.

Note on Level 5 data: The Level 5 data in the table relates only to capital grants for minor alterations, as this is the only element of Level 5 that involves the provision of grants. The Level 5 data in the table does not include equipment or appliances, as support in such cases involves direct provision of the equipment or appliance, with no grant payment involved.

Finally, City and County Childcare Committees (CCCs) receive annual funding from DCYA (via Pobal) in respect of the work they carry out to support the implementation of AIM. This work includes promoting AIM to parents and pre-school providers and assisting them with applications for targeted AIM supports, and rolling out of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion training to pre-school practitioners (another initiative under AIM Level 1). Each county in the country has a Childcare Committee (Cork has 2 and Dublin has 4). Each of the 30 CCCs has received an annual grant since 2016 to support AIM implementation.