The National Childcare Scheme was first launched in November 2019. There are currently over 33,700 children who are subject to a NCS claim by childcare providers.
NCS subsidies are paid once a CHICK has been registered with a childcare provider and the parent has confirmed on the system that all details are correct.
My Department is not aware of any significant technical issues with the registration of children on the NCS system by childcare providers which would impact the payment of NCS subsidies for parents. A small number of issues have arisen which have been quickly resolved. Such issues are normal within any new system and are being ironed out as they arise.
Where assistance is required to register a CHICK, Pobal as Scheme Administrator, under the oversight of my Department, will continue to monitor their service delivery times and take appropriate measures to speed up processing times where necessary and bring efficiencies to bear on what is still a relatively new scheme.
If the Deputy is aware of specific issues being experienced by individual parents I would encourage him to refer them to the NCS Parent Support Centre. Childcare providers experiencing difficulties in registering children on the NCS can be referred to Pobal’s Early Years Provider Centre.
My Department has already met with a number of representative groups to identify where our systems might work better or target where further support may be required.
Pobal will also be looking to engage with users based on their experience to see where further enhancement, training or support may be required.
The NCS is constantly monitored for its success in meeting its objectives. The Scheme will be reviewed after 12 months and closely monitored thereafter to ascertain if it is meeting its stated objectives.