Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1665)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

1665. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 59 of 10 July 2019 and her letter of 29 July 2019, the criteria upon which Tusla and the HSE can grant the extra hours; the limits there are when granting such hours in relation to the proposed national childcare scheme; and the limits when granting such hours. [35062/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The Childcare Support Act 2018 makes provision for specific statutory bodies including Tusla and the HSE to access childcare to support vulnerable children and families and for the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to enter into formal agreements with the various bodies for these purposes. Engagement is ongoing between my officials and each of the bodies in relation to the terms of agreements under which vulnerable children will be referred to the scheme having regard to the provisions of the Act. The terms of each agreement will include such matters as the qualifying criteria and the hours, including the limits on hours for which children may be referred. Where a referral is made by a sponsor body, the families will automatically qualify for a subsidy without having to satisfy any income test. The statutory body will determine the hours for which a child is referred under a sponsor agreement, based on the needs of the family, subject to the limit set out in the agreement between the Minister and each sponsor body. Engagement with each of the sponsor bodies is very advanced and is progressing well. Agreements will be in place with each of the bodies before the launch of the National Childcare Scheme.