A key priority for me as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is to ensure access to high quality and affordable early years and school-age childcare services.
I negotiated that childcare be identified as a strategic priority in the National Development Plan (2018-2027). €250m in capital funding was secured for childcare under the Plan. This represents the kind of large scale investment in the sector by the State that has not been seen since the National Childcare Investment Programme (NCIP) that concluded in 2010.
This investment will be essential to respond to the increased capacity we expect as the new National Childcare Scheme is introduced. The NCS will radically change how this country supports the cost to parents of early learning and care and school age childcare.
Research is on-going to determine areas of specific need that the NDP funding will address when it comes on stream in the coming years. The exact shape and priorities of this funding is currently being developed and information will be made public as it becomes available.