Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (204)

Neale Richmond

Question:

204. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he has engaged with childcare providers to encourage them to take in young children aged one to two years to minimise the disruption to parents and their careers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7624/21]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) represents the first ever statutory entitlement to financial support for childcare in Ireland.

The NCS provides financial support to help parents to meet the cost of childcare. It provides supports to families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years who are attending any participating Tusla registered childcare service, including any Tusla registered childminder and Tusla registered school-age childcare services.

The NCS is based on the principle of progressive universalism, having regard to the best interests of children and to the needs of the most economically vulnerable. Those with the least income will get the highest subsidy.

It is also designed so that higher subsidies will be awarded to families with younger children, to reflect the higher cost of providing childcare for younger children because of the higher adult-child ratios required by the Early Years Regulations. A family with a 1-2 year child can receive a subsidy of up to €4.35. Under 1 would be up to €5.10 and school aged up to €3.75. This reflects the differing levels of costs associated with these development stages and regulatory requirements, and seeks to encourage provision for these ages.

My Department has, since 2015, administered an annual capital funding programme, and in recent years an objective of the funding has been to extend capacity with specific investment in the creation the creation of new places for 0-3 year olds. This has resulted in 4223 additional childcare places for 0-3 year olds.