Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (389)

Jennifer Whitmore


389. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if essential workers who decide not to put their children into childcare in order to reduce movement during the current level 5 restrictions are compelled to pay for that childcare service regardless of whether they use the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2903/21]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

Early learning and care (ELC) and school aged childcare (SAC) services are provided by private enterprises, either privately owned or operated by community organisations. While service providers are contracted by my Department to provide services at a subsidised rate to parents they are free to set their own policies regarding the charging of fees.

If a parent of an eligible child chooses not to take an available place, the service providers’ fee policy will apply.

I am aware, and welcome that, many ELC/SAC providers have refunded or credited fees for parents who cannot access services at this time. I have asked that services take this step, where possible, in light of the significant State supports provided to the sector.