The Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017 and the Childcare Support Act 2018 have both been enacted since May 2016.
The Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017 does not place additional regulatory burden on small and medium enterprises.
Under the Childcare Support Act 2018, the existing or legacy targeted childcare schemes will be replaced later this year with the National Childcare Scheme (NCS). The NCS was developed based on evidence of the best interests of children and families. My Department has engaged with service providers on the development of the NCS and continues to do so.
In line with the wider regulatory framework around childcare and consistent with existing requirements, childcare providers will be required to monitor and record children’s attendance. As part of the requirements of the National Childcare Scheme, providers will be required to undertake a level of reporting on attendance as the subsidies are paid based on a child’s attendance. The attendance rules will reflect the reality of children and parents' lives and the need for services to operate as businesses.
These rules will be child-centred, fair and proportionate, clear and consistent and will recognise the need for flexibility for parents. The rules will not disadvantage services for what would be considered minor non-attendances. At the same time, they will recognise the need to protect State finances by ensuring that Exchequer funds are used to support the maximum number of families in need of financial support, represent value for money for taxpayers, and are allocated in accordance with robust and appropriate procedures.
Parents and providers will continue to work together as they currently do to decide on the amount of childcare that is needed and can be provided. Providers will continue to set their own fees, sessions and admissions policies. The scheme will pay subsidies based on the hours of care agreed between the provider and the parent, up to the maximum hours awarded to the parent.
Towards supporting providers in fulfilling these requirements, I have provided for an NCS Capital Grant Scheme to support providers in purchasing appropriate hardware and software and separately made available a NCS Transition Support Payment. Applications for both of these schemes are currently open.