Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Ceisteanna (498)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

498. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the date the new national childcare scheme will open for applications; if the date will be extended for new entrants to the community childcare subvention programme past 15 November 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46132/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The National Childcare Scheme is set to open to applications on November 20th.

The current targeted childcare subvention schemes will all be replaced by this new scheme over time and the dates for the various closures are as follows:-

- CCSP will close to new applications from Friday 15th November 2019.

- The TEC schemes will close to new applications from 14th February 2020.

No new applications for these schemes can be made after these dates.

The extended "savers" provision under Budget 2020 means that children already on CCS or TEC before the relevant date will be able to remain on them indefinitely, for example, until they no longer require early learning and care or school age childcare, or are no longer eligible under the terms of the legacy scheme. Parents using the saver arrangement can, of course, move over to the National Childcare Scheme at any point. The Parent Information line (01 9068530) can help them understand which scheme will serve them better.

Almost 70,000 families have already registered for the Community Childcare Subvention Programme. This figure represents the vast majority of those who would be expected to apply for this scheme. This reflects the comprehensive communications campaign undertaken in recent weeks and the major nationwide training programme delivered to providers between March and October this year.

It is important to note that the National Childcare Scheme will increase the number of families who can access financial support and will see many families, on existing schemes, qualify for a higher level of support if they choose to transfer across.

The Scheme removes many of the restrictive eligibility requirements of the existing programmes, whereby a parent must be in receipt of certain Social Protection payments or a Medical Card in order to receive targeted supports. It provides subsidies to lower income and lower middle income families who are not in receipt of such benefits and aims to combat the poverty traps which may exist within the existing schemes, and to ensure that there is no disincentive to entering or remaining in employment.