The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) opened on the 20th November 2019. The National Childcare Scheme is designed to improve the accessibility and affordability of quality childcare for families in Ireland. Through the National Childcare Scheme and a range of other measures, I am committed to changing Ireland’s childcare system from one of the most expensive in the world to one of the very best. In designing the National Childcare Scheme, extensive research and consultations have been carried out to ensure that this goal is achieved and that the Scheme can help as many families as possible.
Subsidy payable under the NCS can only be assessed following an application from the family concerned. This application can be made through ncs.gov.ie.
Parents can also avail of the subsidy calculator on the ncs.gov.ie website to help them determine their level of subsidy under the National Childcare Scheme.
In summary, the Scheme provides both universal and income-related subsidies. Children older than 24 weeks, but not yet eligible for the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme, are entitled to a universal subsidy of 50c an hour for up to 40 hours. The universal subsidy is not means-tested. An income-assessed subsidy is also available for children between 24 weeks and 15 years of age, which is means-tested.
The current targeted childcare subvention schemes are being streamlined and replaced by the National Childcare Scheme. The Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP) programme closed to new applications on 15th November, and the Training and Education Childcare (TEC) schemes will close to new applications from 14th February 2020.
By replacing the legacy schemes, the Scheme will increase the number of families who can avail of subsidised childcare, and remove many of the restrictive eligibility requirements of the existing support programmes, whereby a parent must be in receipt of certain Social Protection payments or a Medical Card in order to receive targeted supports. In this way, it aims to combat the poverty traps which may exist within the existing schemes, and to appropriately incentivise employment and education / training for parents.
Should the family concerned require further assistance in assessing their subsidy, the parent support centre is open 9 to 6 Monday to Saturday and can be contacted at 01 906 8530.