Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Ceisteanna (701)

Finian McGrath


701. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if he will support an organisation (details supplied). [21338/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I understand that the preschool service referred to by the Deputy is currently participating in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme which is implemented by my Department and provides a free preschool year to all eligible children before commencing primary school. A capitation payment is provided in respect of each eligible child enrolled for the free preschool provision and total funding of over €86,000 in respect of 44 children enrolled has been paid to this service to date in this academic year. If the service continues to comply with all relevant regulatory obligations and satisfies the eligibility conditions of the programme, funding based on enrolment numbers will continue to be provided.

My Department implements a number of other child care support programmes to assist parents with the cost of child care. For example, the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme provides funding to community not-for-profit child care services to enable them to provide child care at reduced rates to lower income and disadvantaged families. The CCS programme is presently closed to new entrants and new community child care services seeking to enter the programme can only do so if they are in a position to replace an existing community services that has opted out of the programme and support the parents who previously used that service.

The Childhood Education and Training Support (CETS) programme provides funding to support parents who are returning to the workforce or are participating in SOLAS or Education and Training Boards education and training programmes. This programme also supports parents participating in Community Employment programmes.

An After-school Childcare programme was recently introduced and is targeted to support low-income parents returning to the workforce. The aim of this initiative is to ensure that affordable and quality child care is available to disadvantaged families when work opportunities are offered. The CETS and After-school programmes are provided by both community and commercial child care services and the funding provided is used by the services to reduce the weekly fees charged to qualifying parents.

The child care service in question should contact Dublin City Childcare Committee and establish if they are eligible to participate in these programmes.