Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, has today announced the launch of the National Childcare Scheme, the pathway to quality, accessible, affordable Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare in Ireland.
Announcing the Scheme, Minister Zappone noted:
The Minister also announced a national Communications Campaign for the Scheme to raise awareness and help both parents and providers to prepare for the Scheme’s opening in October. The campaign includes:
The Minister was joined at the launch by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD. Speaking at the launch, An Taoiseach said:
Recognising the central role of childcare providers, the Minister also announced a once-off Transition Support Payment which will be paid to all providers who participate in the Scheme. The payment acknowledges the work involved in the initial transition period when both the new Scheme and the old legacy programmes will briefly run side by side. In announcing the payment, the Minister also emphasised her gratitude for the dedication and commitment demonstrated by those in the Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare sector.
Under the National Childcare Scheme, families will be supported to meet the cost of quality childcare through a system of universal and income-related subsides. Additional funding provided under Budget 2019 ensures an even greater number of families will now benefit from the Scheme when it opens. The significant increase in the top net income threshold to €60,000 net income per year means that an estimated 7,500 additional children will benefit from the Scheme, with over 40,000 other children, already eligible, seeing increases to their subsidies.
The National Childcare Scheme is paving the way for Ireland’s childcare system to transform from one of the most expensive in the world into one of the very best.
This National Childcare Scheme will replace the existing targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and more user-friendly scheme.
The Scheme will open to applications in October 2019 and aims to:
Below are a set of sample families scenarios, all qualifying for 40 hours of subsidised childcare per week. The reckonable income for the purpose of calculating each family’s subsidy is arrived at by taking the gross family income, including any social protection payments, and deducting tax, PRSI, USC and any allowable items, such as the Multiple Child Discount.
Jenny has one child who is 2 years old and needs 40 hours of childcare per week. She is a lone parent, working full-time with a gross income of €26,500 per year. Under the Scheme, her reckonable family income is €26,000 and she qualifies for a subsidy of €175 per week or €9,100 per annum.
Siobhan and Jack have two children; a two year old who needs 40 hours of childcare and a 5 year old who needs 17 hours of afterschool care per week. Siobhan is working full time and Jack is studying. They have a gross income of €64,000 per year. Under the Scheme, their reckonable family income is €43,200 and they qualify for a total subsidy of €128 per week or €6,656 per annum.
Charlie and Sam have three children; a one year old and 2 year old twins who all need 40 hours of childcare per week. Charlie works full time, while Sam works part time. They have a gross income of €90,000 per year. Under the Scheme, their reckonable family income is €51,400 and they qualify for a total subsidy of €176 per week or €9,152 per annum.
Communications and Training Campaign
As part of the national Communication Campaign, comprehensive information materials and supports for parents, providers and stakeholders are available from today on the Scheme’s website www.ncs.gov.ie. A range of guides and resources in a variety of formats are available to access, including Frequently Asked Questions, information booklets and leaflets.
Starting this month (March), over 600 training sessions will be held nationwide for providers, continuing throughout the year. These sessions will give detailed information to those wanting to participate in the National Childcare Scheme. There will also be full suite of training and information materials available to access online. Places can be booked for sessions across all venues via the Eventbrite page on the website. Resource packs containing information booklets and leaflets will also be sent to providers by post.