Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (574)

Paul Murphy


574. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the average amount the average household spends on childcare each year. [47207/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

According to data from Growing Up in Ireland, parental care is the main childcare arrangement used for children of all ages and there is a diverse landscape of provision for non-parental childcare.

A key form of Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) is centre-based provision, operated by private (for profit) and community (not-for-profit) organisations. In 2018/19, private, for profit provision accounted for 74% (3,397) of all services contracted to provide at least one of the DCYA funded programmes, with community providers accounting for the remaining 26% (1,201). It is estimated that there were 206,301 children attending ELC and SAC services during 2018/19. Over the entire programme year, nine in every ten enrolled children (185,971) participated in at least one of the DCYA funded programmes (ECCE, CCS (including CCSP and CCSU) or TEC) (181,329 between September 2018 and June 2019). Those who were not eligible for schemes were largely school-age children.

Informal arrangements for ELC and SAC are also common, including childminders. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs' Draft Childminding Action Plan estimates approximately 19,400 childminders, though the figure may be far lower.

Arriving at an average household figure depends on agreeing a set of assumptions, and therefore should be interpreted with some degree of caution. The OECD’s international comparative dataset includes an indicator measuring the net costs paid by parents for full-time, centre-based provision, after any benefits designed to reduce the gross ELC and SAC fees.

According to the data, families with two children aged 2 and 3, with parents aged 40, who are in full time work, earning the average wage, paid 22% of their net household income on ELC in 2018, down from 25% in 2015. The calculated value is €13,056 in 2018, down from €13,466 in 2015. Budgets 2019 and 2020, which saw a combined extra €130m approximately added to the ELC and SAC budget, are not reflected in this calculation.

At a national level, Pobal’s Annual Sector Profile 2018/ 2019 provides a range of service data. The average weekly fee for full day ELC/SAC is €184.36 before any Government subsidy is deducted. The average weekly fee for part-time ELC/SAC is €109.98, again before any Government subsidy is deducted. As in previous years, average fees are higher in urban areas than in rural areas (€191.33 and €165.76 respectively for full day care per week) and in private services than in community services (€190.74 and €168.12 respectively for full day care per week). The average weekly full day fees in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown are 66% higher than the lowest recorded for Leitrim (€148.33). The part-time fees are 60% higher in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown than in Monaghan, where these are the lowest, at €83.19.

The two year ECCE programme is currently considered to save parents approximately €5000 on their ELC costs. The new National Childcare Scheme being launched on November 20th marks a radical new departure for ELC and SAC in Ireland, creating an infrastructure from which universal and targeted funding can be provided to children and families. There has been a 138% increase in investment in ELC and SAC over the last 5 budgets and First 5, the Whole of Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families, published in 2018 committed to doubling funding again over the next 10 years. This should see the average household spend reducing significantly.