Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (578)

Paul Murphy


578. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the average amount spent each year to assist low income persons in securing childcare services. [47211/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I am committed to ensuring that all children and families, and in particular those from low income backgrounds, can access high quality early learning and care and school age childcare services.

My Department currently operates a number of targeted schemes to support parents and guardians to secure such services. The majority of these schemes are targeted at low income families. Other schemes are not specifically targeted at low income families, but may be used by them, such as ECCE, which provides two years of free preschool to all children (some €293m was expended on ECCE in 2018/19; which allowed 108,200 children avail of this scheme).

In 2018/19, approximately €128m was expended on schemes targeted at children from low income households (CCS, CCSP, CCSR, CCST, CETS, CEC and ASCC). Approximately 52,000 children availed of these targeted programmes.

The amount spent on childcare has increased by 138% over the last 5 budgets rising from a total budget of €264.5m in 2015 to €628.1m in 2020. Inclusive of subsidies, development and administrative supports, I have secured a 2020 allocation of over €200m for delivery of the new National Childcare Scheme, which will be available to lower income and lower middle income families. I am delighted to say that this new scheme is going live for online applications on November 20th.

In addition to free ECCE places and subsidised early learning and care and school age child care places, my Department also funds other initiatives each year to increase the number of places in the sector, for example the annual capital grant scheme. This has assisted in doubling the number of places in the sector over a 5 year period.