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Child Care Services.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 8 February 2006

Wednesday, 8 February 2006

Ceisteanna (82, 83, 84)

Ned O'Keeffe

Ceist:

171 Mr. N. O’Keeffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if the new child care payment of €1,000 per annum will be awarded in respect of a child (details supplied) in County Cork who will reach the age of six in July 2006; and the manner in which this payment will issue. [4523/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

174 Mr. Haughey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the arrangements for the payment of the early child care supplement; if the parents of a child who will be six in February 2006 will qualify; if the parents of a child who will six in April 2006 will qualify; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4693/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 171 and 174 together.

As the legislation governing this new payment is currently being finalised as part of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2005, and as the payment will be made by the Department of Social and Family Affairs using information on their database to which my Department currently has no access, I am not in a position to answer questions regarding the specific entitlements of individuals. I will, however, reply to the general questions raised and trust this will clarify the points of concern to the Deputies.

A new early child care supplement of €1,000 per annum is being introduced in respect of all children less than six years of age and will be effective from 1 April 2006. This will be a direct, non-taxable payment of €250 per quarter year, in respect of each eligible child, payable by the office of the Minister of State with responsibility for children. Payments will be processed by the Department of Social and Family Affairs, on an agency basis for the office of the Minister of State with responsibility for children. It will take some time to set the necessary arrangements in place, and it is likely that the first payment may not issue until September 2006.

As the payment is effective from 1 April 2006, a child who will be six in February 2006 will not qualify for the payment. A child whose sixth birthday falls in April 2006 will be eligible for the first quarterly payment only. Similarly, any payment in respect of an eligible child who will be six in July 2006, will only be made in respect of two quarters in 2006.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

172 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her plans to make capital and staffing grant aid available for toddler and preschool care under the EOCP programme or under any other programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4583/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Responsibility for the national child care investment programme 2006-2010 has now been assigned to my Department under the general aegis of the office of the Minister of State with responsibility for children. The new national child care investment programme 2006-2010, which succeeds the Equal Opportunities Child care Programme, EOCP, 2000-2006, is a major new five year investment programme which aims to provide a proactive response to the development of quality child care supports and services which are grounded in an understanding of local needs. It will build on the previous EOCP programme and will incorporate a number of key objectives including: the creation of 50,000 additional child care places, of which approximately 20% will be for the three to four age group; and improving the quality of early childhood care and education services including part-time, full day care, school age child care and child minding services.

Arrangements are also being made for the introduction of an improved capital grant scheme to assist child minding services and a new capital grant scheme to assist parent and toddler groups. Details of the new schemes will be available shortly from the office of the Minister of State with responsibility for children.

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