A key priority for me as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is to ensure access to high quality and affordable child care. I have made capital funding available immediately for this purpose and I have also secured €250 million for child care facilities under the national development plan in the years ahead.
Each year Pobal conducts research on behalf of my Department to examine a number of factors related to child care services in Ireland, including capacity. The most recent early years sector profile for 2016 to 2017 indicates that existing child care provision continues to meet the needs of the nation's parents in terms of capacity. The survey process which informs the sector profile will re-engage with child care providers again in the coming months to provide a further updated picture. In the meantime, my Department continues to advance a number of measures to ensure that parents can access high quality child care.
In 2018, I secured €6.86 million for capital investment in child care. Under the early years and school age child care capital programmes, providers can apply for funding for new child care places, with maximum grants available of up to €50,000.