Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Questions (455)

Kathleen Funchion


455. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration if information on the sustainability fund will be provided; the way in which it can be applied for; and the locations in which information can be found in this regard. [31631/20]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

€2.2m was made available to services who require sustainability support in 2020. In addition to this, I have secured an equal amount of funding in the Budget for sustainability efforts in 2021. Information on the sustainability fund can be accessed through participation in the Case Management process.

My Department oversees a Case Management process through which local City/County Childcare Committees (CCCs) and Pobal work together to assess and provide support to early learning and care and school age services in difficulty. This can include help with completing and interpreting analysis of staff ratios, fee setting and cash flow, as well as more specialised advice and support appropriate to individual circumstances.

Financial supports, which may also be accessed through the Case Management process, are available for community services presenting with sustainability issues following a financial assessment by Pobal. I note that while my Department does provide funding to assist childcare providers through specific challenges to their sustainability, these supports are currently only available to community not for profit services. Community services which wish to know more should contact their local CCC in the first instance.

However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, my Department has made a new strand of funding available; COVID-19 Sustainability Support funding. This strand of the sustainability funding is available to both private for-profit providers and community non-profit providers, subject to eligibility criteria and an assessment of need. This funding is available for providers which are struggling with an imminent threat to the viability of the service arising from a demonstrated decline in occupancy and/or demonstrated increase in costs due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Applicant guidelines, as well as the forms necessary to apply, are available through the Early Years Platform (the Hive) and PIP. Support for ELC and SAC providers in relation to the completion of an application is available via the local City and County Childcare Committees (CCCs). Contact details for the CCCs can be found in the Guidelines document, or at www.myccc.ie.