Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Ceisteanna (557)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

557. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the participation of private childcare providers in the national childcare scheme; the breakdown of places available under the scheme for pre-ECCE, ECCE and school-age children across the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51094/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The National Childcare Scheme opened on November 20th for online applications. To date, 3,646 service providers nationwide have contracted to participate in the NCS, a sign-up rate I am very happy with at this juncture. This includes all private providers, including for-profit and not-for-profit services.

I am delighted that there has been a very high volume of applications from parents so far. As of 9th December over 12,000 applications, relating to over 17,000 children, had already been submitted and thousands of awards have issued to parents. The NCS is a landmark and highly innovative initiative. It is our future pathway to quality, accessible, affordable childcare in Ireland, and our platform to support long-term investment in universal and targeted supports.

With specific regard to the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area, as of 6th December, 49 private service providers had contracted to participate in the NCS, had undergone onboarding for the Scheme and had been awarded budget approval for the NCS 2019.

The breakdown of childcare places available in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area in May / June of this year, which is the period for which data is available, is displayed in the following table. It should be noted that children at all stages between 24 weeks and 15 years are eligible to partake in the National Childcare Scheme.

Vacant places

Number of children enrolled

Capacity*

Up to 1 year (0-12 months)

13

250

263

1 year+ to 2 years (13-24 months)

14

660

674

2 years+ to 3 years (25-36 months)

16

1015

1,031

3 years+ to 4 years (37-48 months)

45

1908

1,953

4 years+ to 5 years (49-60 months)

36

1767

1,803

5 years+ to 6 years (61-72 months)

24

570

594

6 years+ to 8 years (73-96 months)

13

502

515

8 years+

12

351

363

Total

173

7,023

7,196

*Sum of children enrolled and vacant places.

The following should be noted about these figures:

- The response rate to the survey for services in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown was 79.8%

- Number of children enrolled includes all children in services, not just those funded under DCYA Programmes.

- The Early Years Service Profile (EYSP) survey went live on 10th May and closed on June 7th and as such, the age ranges for the figures above would be have been captured during that time.

- Age ranges for the children do not specifically relate to pre-ECCE, ECCE or school-age children. However, the majority of children up to 3 years would be considered pre-ECCE, those from 3 years to 6 years would be considered ECCE and those 6 years + and over are considered school-age.

- Pobal only contacts registered services to participate in this survey and hence, for example, unregistered childminders are not included. The Childminding Action Plan should result in more childminders becoming eligible over time to register and offer NCS to families.

- The 2019 and 2020 capital schemes should result in more capacity being developed.

- Capacity in Ireland has doubled over the last 5 years as a result on investment, but further capacity is required in certain high demand areas.