The Department of Children and Youth Affairs does its best to ensure, in so far as possible, the equitable treatment of all children and families who apply for funding under the ECCE Programme. In order to ensure objectivity and fairness, it is essential that clear rules exist for the scheme and that they are applied evenly. An essential component of the ECCE programme rules is an eligibility start date to ensure that the programme can be administered and budgeted for in an appropriate manner. The programme has included cut off points since its inception in 2010.
A child born in January 2018 is eligible for two full programme years of ECCE from 1st September 2021 and once again from the 1st September 2022. Legally, children can be enrolled at primary school from the age of 4 years upwards and must have started their formal primary school education by the age of 6 years.
There are a number of other early learning and care schemes for which this family may be eligible. Further information is available at www.dcya.gov.ie or from your local city / County Childcare Committee. It should also be noted that the National Childcare Scheme will launch on 29th October 2019 and income-assessed subsidies will be available to families with children aged between 24 months and 15 years. This is a means-tested subsidy and is calculated based on a family's circumstances. The rate will vary depending on the level of family income, the child’s age and educational stage, and the number of children in the family. Further details of the new scheme due to be launched in October 2019 are available on the National Childcare Scheme website https://ncs.gov.ie/