Thursday, 28 November 2019

Ceisteanna (243)

Willie O'Dea


243. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if a public services card will be required to access the new childcare scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49461/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The National Childcare Scheme opened on 20 November.  It is being opened on a phased basis, with the online application system now available and a postal application system available from early 2020.  The Scheme provides the first ever statutory entitlement to financial support for childcare.

The Scheme has always been designed such that, when it is fully up and running, applications will be accepted both online and by post.  A Public Services Card (PSC) and verified MyGovID account are required to apply online only.

The online system offers a user friendly application process for busy parents. It will deliver greater efficiency in the administration of a major, national Government scheme. It gives parents the possibility of (a) accessing subsidies via an online automated income assessment and (b) applying for subsidies using their mobile phone.  It is parent friendly.

A secure identity verification system is required for any such IT system.  The Public Services Card and MyGovID offers this security.  It safeguards applicants' information and the administration of public funding.  Our priority is to direct funding to hard-pressed parents and not into administration.

For those parents who wish to apply online but lack IT access or knowledge, help is available through their local Childcare Committee. DCYA has also been working with key stakeholders to support vulnerable families and will continue this work. Parents can also contact the Parent Support Centre which is available from 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday - 01 9068530.

There has been a very high volume of applications.  Over 8,400 applications, benefiting over 12,100 children, have been successfully submitted, with many more in train.