Thursday, 22 February 2018

Ceisteanna (31)

Jack Chambers


31. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the introduction of the universal child care subsidy and its impact on the sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8985/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

In September 2017 my Department introduced a series of measures to make childcare more accessible and affordable for families in Ireland. These included:

- A new, universal (non-means tested) subsidy for all children in Tusla-registered childcare aged between 6 months until they are eligible for the ECCE programme, which amounts to up to €1,040 per year for children in full-time childcare.

- Significant increases, of up to 50%, in targeted childcare subsidies provided under existing childcare schemes, specifically the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) and Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) Schemes (subsidies available of up to €145 per week, per child).

DCYA undertook a comprehensive information campaign to increase parents’ awareness of the new and increased childcare subsidies available, and to encourage childcare providers to take part in the schemes.

I am delighted to report that the introduction of these measures has been a success. Currently, the families of over 32,000 children are benefitting from the new universal subsidy, 97% of the expected take up.

Over 34,000 children are enjoying enhanced targeted subsidies. This means that over 66,700 children, or 96% of the estimated 70,000 expected to avail of the measures, are now benefitting from these supports, and the door remains open to parents to apply.

These measures will remain in place in September 2018 to support families until the launch of the Affordable Childcare Scheme.

Finally, to recognise the additional administrative demands these measures place on childcare providers, a budget of €3.5m in Programme Support Payments (formerly known as ‘Non-Contact Time Payments’) was announced to support providers who sign up to the schemes in recognition of their ‘non-contact time’ and administrative responsibilities.

This payment, which was made in late December 2017, was in addition to the €14.5m Programme Support Payment secured in Budget 2017 for ‘non-contact time’ during the period September 2016-August 2017. The Programme Support Payment of €18m will remain in place for 2018.