Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Ceisteanna (712)

Pat Deering

Ceist:

712. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if he will consider extra supports for parents on the costs of child care. [21606/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

My Departments implements a number of child care support programmes to assist parents with the cost of child care. These include the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme, the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme, the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) programme and the new After-school Childcare programme.

The Early Childhood Care and Education programme provides a free preschool year to all eligible children in the year before commencing primary school. Children qualify for the free preschool year where they are aged more than 3 years 2 months and less than 4 years 7 months at 1 September in the relevant year.

The Community Childcare Subvention programme provides funding to community-based child care services to enable them to provide child care at reduced rates to parents in receipt of social welfare payments or on low or relatively modest incomes. The Childhood Education and Training Support 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.

In the region of €260 million is provided annually by my Department to provide for these child care support programmes which assist parents in accessing quality and affordable child care. More than 100,000 children benefit from these programmes each year. There is no additional funding currently available to my Department to enable me to enhance the current support programmes or to provide for new initiatives in the child care sector.