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Child Care Services.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 11 March 2010

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Ceisteanna (132, 133, 134)

David Stanton

Ceist:

131 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of pre-school services in operation here; the number of pre-school providers participating in the free pre-school year in the early childhood care and education scheme; the breakdown of same in each child care committee area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12168/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

David Stanton

Ceist:

132 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children who are enrolled with pre-school education services across the country; the number who are receiving a free pre-school year from the early childhood care and education services in each county child care area; the breakdown of these children that is available per age group; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12169/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

David Stanton

Ceist:

133 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of pre-school services offering the free pre-school year in the early childhood care and education scheme which came into operation in January 2010; the number of these providers who are seeking optional extra charges or voluntary donations from parents to cover additional costs such as extra hours, food and so on; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12170/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health and Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 131 to 133, inclusive, together.

I have responsibility for the free Pre-School Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme which was introduced in January of this year. Approximately 4,700 pre-school services in the State are notified to the Health Service Executive (HSE). Some 4,000 of these, or 85%, are participating in the ECCE scheme. Over 51,000 children, or 80%, of children in the year before school year, are availing of a free pre-school year place. This rises to over 53,500 (almost 85%) of children in the year before school, when account is taken of those availing of a pre-school year under the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme (CCSS) which is also implemented by my Office. The Table attached sets out the number of pre-school services participating in the ECCE scheme and the number of children enrolled in the ECCE scheme, broken down by City and County Childcare Committee area.

I must advise the Deputy that my Office does not have details in regard to the number of children attending pre-school services which are not participating in the ECCE scheme, whether in the qualifying age range for the scheme or not, as they would be attending on the basis of private arrangements between parents and providers. The age range in which children qualify for the scheme spans a period of almost 17 months and includes all children aged more than 3 years 2 months and less than 4 years 7 months in September of each year.

With regard to the number of participating services which offer optional extra services, including additional hours, each participating service is required to provide a fee policy to its local City or County Childcare Committee including fees charged in respect of non-qualified children, and details in regard to optional additional fees. This information is important, in individual cases, to ensure that services are compliant with the terms and conditions of the scheme, and information concerning the fees charged of parents outside the scheme is collated, in summary form. However, the nature of the details concerning optional extras does not lend itself to summary data, and is not, therefore, collated on a national basis.

Services

Children enrolled

Carlow

53

691

Cavan

69

970

Clare

152

1,433

Cork City

86

1,093

Cork County

333

4,756

Donegal

132

1,869

Dublin City

342

3,255

Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown

184

1,814

Fingal

330

3,358

Galway

288

2,815

Kerry

129

1,518

Kildare

244

2,774

Kilkenny

114

1,163

Laois

82

996

Leitrim

34

414

Limerick City

47

597

Limerick County

140

1,645

Longford

45

494

Louth

139

1,514

Mayo

128

1,427

Meath

219

2,618

Monaghan

57

881

Offaly

67

951

Roscommon

61

713

Sligo

67

643

South Dublin

240

2,684

Tipperary North

79

857

Tipperary South

81

1,068

Waterford City

44

628

Waterford County

51

690

Westmeath

97

1,152

Wexford

135

1846

Wicklow

147

1,677

NB. The figures for services include those where two services are co-located e.g. a 50 week creche and 38 week playschool on the same premises. The figures for children are subject to ongoing process, whereincomplete returns were made by services.

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