Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Ceisteanna (549)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

549. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of children in crèche and childcare; the individual annual subsidy on average per child; the annual subsidy in the sector; the number of preschool children that are not in childcare that are being cared for by their parents; the level of financial supports they receive other than children’s allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39382/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The information is as follows:

Number of children in childcare:

CSO data suggests that there are 403,919 children under age 6 living in Ireland.

My Department collates figures on the total number of children in early learning and care and school age childcare who are availing of one of my Department's programmes, which include the  universally available programmes Community Childcare Subvention Universal (CCSU) and  Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). The number of children registered on each Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) programme, along with the cost, for the 18/19 programme year was as follows:

Programme Call 2018/19

Approved Child Registrations

Total Paid to date €

CCSP 

35,514

105,118,527

CCSU 

33,780

included in CCSP figure above

CCSRT - Transition

432

included in CCSP figure above

CCSR - Resettlement

300

included in CCSP figure above

CCS

12,483

32,751,172

ASCC

228

432,440

CEC (AS)

686

872,797

CEC (PS)

670

1,700,025

CETS

1,929

5,803,419

ECCE

108,189

293,384,153

Total

194,211

440,062,534

 

 

 

ECCE PSP* Payments

 

9,439,029

CCS PSP   Payments

 

8,566,120

TEC PSP   Payments

 

609,828

Total PSP   Payments

 

18,614,976

 

 

 

 

 Total Paid to date €

458,677,510

*Programme Support Payment (PSP) recognises the additional time required of childcare providers to complete the administrative work associated with the DCYA funded early learning and care and school age childcare programmes.

Individual annual subsidy on average per child:

As a child's level of attendance and level of service on each targeted programme can vary greatly, an average annual subsidy would not be be a good indicator of actual subsidies payable. For example, Child A and B qualify under Band A of the Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP) programme, if Child A attends childcare full time, their payment is €145. If child B attends childcare on a half-sessional basis, their payment is €22.50. Both children have the same eligibility, but due to different levels of attendance, their payments vary substantially and the levels of service/attendance can change throughout the programme year dependant on circumstances.

The capitation for ECCE varies between €69 and €80 per week per child approximately. This indicates an annual subsidy per child of between €2,622 and €3,040.

The CCSU is worth €1040 per annum to children under 3 in full time registered childcare and is paid on a pro-rata basis.

The annual subsidy in the sector

The total expenditure on subsidies, capitation or PSP for 2018/2019 programme year amounts to €458,677,510. Approx 4500 services availed of this investment.

The number of preschool children that are not in childcare:

Data from Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) reveals the main arrangements for early learning and care for pre-school children. See the following Table for details. While parental care is the main arrangement for 50% of 3 year olds and 63% of 5 year olds, 95% of this cohort also avail of the ECCE programme (3 hours per day, 5 days per week, 38 weeks of the year). There are also pre-school aged children enrolled on other early learning and care programmes on a sessional or part-time basis, but parental care remains the main arrangement for them.

Main ELC arrangements

9 month olds

3 year olds

5 year olds not in school

5 year olds in school

Parental care

62%

50%

63%

64%

Relative care

16%

12%

14%

16%

Childminder/nanny

12%

12%

14%

11%

Centre-based care

11%

27%

10%

9%

In regard to childminding services, whilst it is believed that there may be as many as 19,000 childminders in Ireland, very few are registered with Tusla and as such able to access to the main State funding schemes for early learning and care or school age childcare. Therefore, very few childminders have taken part in these programmes. The number of childminders currently offering DCYA programmes is set out in the following table:

No.

CCSP

19

TEC/CETS

2

ECCE

25

Total number of DCYA   registered childminders

81

The level of financial supports received other than children’s allowance:

Government is committed to supporting parents in caring for young children at home in a range of ways, other than the early learning and care and school age childcare supports referenced above.

My Department provides funding for parent and toddler groups to organise activities for parents and children in the community to support children's development through play. Both working parents and stay-at-home parents participate.  449 groups were supported in 2018. 

My Department is also developing a new model of parenting services covering key stages of child development and taking account of parents and children in a range of contexts and parenting relationships. 

More widely across Government, there are various initiatives that support stay-at-home parents. A child benefit payment of €140 per child per month is available for all children. Budget 2019 announced an increase to the home carer tax credit to €1,500 per year. 

There have also been a number of new measures to support parents to spend time at home with children in their early years. Two weeks of paternity leave and benefit for fathers was introduced in 2016. In 2017, there was an extension to maternity leave and benefit to mothers of babies born prematurely.  Budget 2019 announced the introduction of a new paid parental leave scheme which will be available to both fathers and mothers from later this year.

First 5, a Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families, published in November 2018, includes over 150 actions including a broad range of measures to support families given their fundamental importance in shaping children’s experiences and outcomes. The First 5 Implementation Plan, published in May, sets out how these actions, many of which will benefit stay-at-home parents, will be progressed in the coming three years.