Thursday, 5 December 2019

Questions (354)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

354. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of applications made since the opening of the national childcare scheme on 20 November 2019; the number of subsidies provided since that date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51067/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The National Childcare Scheme opened on the 20th November. It is being opened on a phased basis, with the online application system now available and a postal application system available from early 2020.

There has been a very high volume of applications since the Scheme opened for online applications. Over 10,400 applications, relating to over 14,800 children, have already been successfully submitted and over 5,600 awards have already been made to parents. Parents must bring this award to their childcare provider and once their provider has registered the details, payments will begin to flow.

I am delighted with the volume of applications so far, and I would ask parents to bear with us should we experience any technical issues or slight delays in these initial days. There are supports available to parents at this time, including the Parent Support Centre which is available from 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday- 01 9068530.

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.