Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1357)

Michael McGrath

Question:

1357. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the programmes funded by her Department in the early learning and care sector. [19436/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

My Department funds the following early learning and care programmes:

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)

The ECCE programme is a universal two year programme available to all children within the eligible age range. It provides children with their first formal experience of early learning prior to commencing primary school. The programme is provided for three hours per day, five days per week over 38 weeks and the programme year runs from September to June. There is one point of entry in the programme year which is September. Childcare services taking part in the ECCE scheme must provide an appropriate pre-school educational programme which adheres to the principles of Síolta and Aistear, the national frameworks for early years care and education. Local City/County Childcare Committees (CCCs) staff are on hand to support participating services. ECCE is only available through participating early years services, a list of these services is available through the relevant local CCC

Community Childcare Subvention (CCS)

The Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) Programme is a childcare programme targeted to support parents/guardians on a low income to avail of reduced childcare costs at participating community childcare services. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) pays for a portion of the childcare costs for eligible children, with the parent/guardian paying the remainder. The CCS is only available through participating community not-for-profit childcare services, a list of these services is available through the relevant local County Childcare Committee. CCS subvention is available for 52 weeks of the year. The CCS programme commenced on 20th August 2018 and runs until 16th August 2019. This is referred to as the Programme year. CCS services may cater for infant, pre-school and afterschool places. They may also incorporate a breakfast club. Some CCS services may be stand-alone services and cater for just one type of service e.g. afterschool.

Please note CCS will be discontinued at the end of the 2018/2019 programme year.

Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP)

The Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCS Plus) Programme provides support for parents/guardians on a low income to avail of reduced childcare costs at participating privately owned childcare services and at community not-for-profit childcare services; a list of these services is available through the relevant local County Childcare Committee. The DCYA pays a portion of the childcare costs for eligible children, with the parent/guardian paying the remainder. The eligibility of the parent/guardian is determined by their status with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection . The CCS Plus programme commenced on 20th August 2018 and runs until 16th August 2019. This is referred to as the Programme year. CCS Plus services may cater for infant, pre-school and afterschool places. They may also incorporate a breakfast club. Some CCS Plus services may be stand-alone services and cater for just one type of service e.g. afterschool.

Universal Subsidy (CCSU)

As part of the Government policy to make childcare more affordable, DCYA introduced in 2017 a universal childcare subvention payment of up to €20 per week for families using eligible childcare providers for the care of children aged from 6 months to the first eligible point of entry to the ECCE scheme. This scheme is administered via an enhancement to the CCS Plus scheme.

Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (CCSR)

As per government policy, the Government of Ireland increased Ireland’s resettlement quota to cater for up to 4,000 Programme Refugees. To support the Programme Refugees (PRs) in their resettlement and integration into Irish society, the need to provide dedicated childcare funding was recognised. Childcare funding for this cohort was incorporated into the existing CCSP Programme to enable parents/guardians to be free to attend a language and orientation course for up to 60 weeks

Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (Transitional) (CCSR(T))

As part of the “Rebuilding Ireland – an Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness”, DCYA launched a special provision under the current Community Childcare Subvention Programme, entitled CCSR (Transitional), which provides access to free childcare for children of families experiencing homelessness. The provision provides subvention for all pre-school children aged 0 to 5 inclusive and 6 to 12 year olds during the school holidays only. The scheme is also designed to help those transitioning from homelessness to permanent accommodation. CCSRT is available through all services participating in the CCS/P programmes.

Training and Employment Childcare (TEC)

The TEC Programme is an overarching childcare programme funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and is specifically designed to support parents/guardians on eligible Education and Training Board training courses, as well as certain categories of parents/guardians returning to work by providing subsidised childcare places. The TEC Programme provides childcare support for parents/guardians on certain education and training courses (CETS), parents/guardians working on Community Employment programmes (CEC), and also for families on Family Income Support (ASCC):

Childcare Education and Training Support programme (CETS)

The CETS Programme is administered and funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. It provides childcare to certain training course participants on courses provided by the Education and Training Boards (ETB, formerly FAS and VEC), specifically, courses run in training centres (formally FÁS training centres), ETB VTOS courses, and Secondary Schools students. The duration of CETS corresponds with the start and end dates stated on the eligibility letter up to a maximum of 50 weeks per year.

Community Employment Childcare programme (CEC)

The CEC scheme is administered and funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and provides childcare for children of parents/guardians who are participating on Community Employment schemes. The duration of CEC corresponds with the start and end dates stated on the Community Employment eligibility letter provided by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection up to a maximum of 50 weeks per year.

After-School Child Care programme (ASCC)

The ASCC scheme is administered and funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. It provides afterschool care for primary school children for certain categories of working parents/guardians as well as parents/guardians on employment programmes (not including Community Employment) based on eligibility criteria provided by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. ASCC is available for a once off maximum of 52 weeks and this allowance does not have to be used consecutively.

Extra funding is provided to compensate for school holidays.

The National Childcare Scheme (NCS)

The National Childcare Scheme (NCS), the pathway to quality, accessible, affordable Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare was launched on the 11th of March 2019.

It is the first ever statutory entitlement to financial support for childcare. Through this entitlement, the NCS aims to improve children's outcomes, support lifelong learning, reduce child poverty and tangibly reduce the cost of quality childcare for thousands of families across Ireland.

The NCS will support families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years who are attending any participating Tusla registered childcare service, including any Tusla registered childminder. A full list of contracted childcare providers will be available on www.ncs.gov.ie in the autumn of 2019.

There are two types of supports available under the Scheme: a Universal subsidy and an Income Assessed subsidy.

The Universal subsidy is available to all families with children under three years. It is also available to families with children over three years who have not yet qualified for the free preschool programme. The Universal subsidy provides 50c per hour towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 40 hours per week. It is not means tested and can typically be calculated within minutes of applying via the Scheme’s online system.

An Income Assessed subsidy is available to families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years. This subsidy is means tested and will be calculated based on your individual circumstances. The subsidy rate will vary depending on your level of family income, your child’s age and their educational stage. It can be used towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 40 hours per week where parents are working, studying or training, or in circumstances where a parent is unavailable to care for a child. Where parents are not working, studying or training, the subsidy will be paid for up to a maximum of 15 hours per week.

When operational, the parent will be able to apply for a subsidy online or by post.

A parent is required to have a verified MyGovID when making an online application. A verified MyGovID is a single, secure account to unlock Irish Government services online.