The National Childcare Scheme represents the first ever statutory entitlement to early learning and childcare in Ireland, and has streamlined the multiple targeted support schemes previously available.
In replacing the legacy schemes, the NCS entails a fundamental shift away from subsidies grounded in medical card and social protection entitlements, and towards a comprehensive and progressive system of universal and income-based subsidies.
Since the NCS was introduced in November 2019, over 58,000 children have benefitted from NCS subsidies.
In the final week of September 2020, there were 30,591 children in receipt of NCS subsidies. By the final week of June 2021, there were 39,376 children in receipt of NCS subsidies. This represents a 29% increase (8,785 children).