There is an ongoing government objective to improve communication and engagement across the Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare sector. This includes raising awareness of the range of services and training on offer by City and County Childcare Committees (CCCs) and to raise the profile of the work of CCCs within the sector.
The My CCC website is designed to signpost childcare providers and parents to their local CCCs as part of this objective. It gives an overview of the services on offer by CCCs to parents and providers and will assist people when they need to signpost an individual to these services.
Budget 2017 announced a radical redesign of the delivery of support to make quality childcare accessible and affordable for families in Ireland. The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) provides financial support for parents towards the cost of childcare. It provides a system from which both universal and targeted subsidies can be provided towards the cost of childcare.
This new scheme replaces the existing targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and more user-friendly scheme. It includes “wraparound‟ care for pre-school and school-age children. The ambition of this project is immense; its scope is only matched in size by its complexity.
The scheme will:
Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP) Programme
The Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP) Programme is a childcare programme targeted to support parents on a low income to avail of reduced childcare costs at participating community childcare services. The department pays for a portion of the childcare costs for eligible children, a payment described as a subvention payment, with the parent paying the remainder.
The CCSP programme is only available through participating community not-for-profit childcare services. The service provider submits an application for CCSP on behalf of the parent to the department.
CCSP subvention is available for 52 weeks of the year.
The CCSP programme covers the academic year, starting in August and finishing the following August. This is referred to as the Programme year.
Training and Employment Childcare (TEC)
The TEC Programme is an overarching childcare programme funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and is specifically designed to support parents/guardians on eligible Education and Training Board training courses, as well as certain categories of parents/guardians returning to work, by providing subsidised childcare places. The TEC Programme provides childcare support for parents/guardians on certain education and training courses (CETS), parents/guardians working on Community Employment programmes (CEC), and also for families on Family Income Support (ASCC).
A childminder is defined as a self-employed person who minds other people’s children in their own home. They offer a flexible service, tailored to each child, thereby helping parents and guardians to balance their work and family commitments.
A childminder negotiates and agrees her or his terms with parents but the child’s welfare must be the prime consideration of a childminder. Childminders have sole responsibility at all times for the health, safety and wellbeing of each child entrusted to their care.
Under the National Childcare Strategy 2006-2010, the National Guidelines for Childminders intend to provide guidance for good practice to assist childminders.
In August 2019 the Minister launched the Draft Childminding Action Plan for the purpose of public consultation. The Plan sets out proposals for improving access to high quality and affordable early learning and care and school-age childcare through childminding.
Tusla publishes Inspection reports of Early Years Services on an ongoing basis. Where available, the providers' responses are also published online on the Tusla website.
A list of service providers, inspection reports, and the associated correspondence reports can also be accessed.
Early-Years Education-Focused Inspection (EYEI)
Early-Years Education-focused Inspections (EYEI) are carried out in early-years services participating in the Early Childhood Care and Education Programme (ECCE) programme – a programme which provides a period of free early childhood care and education for children before they start school.
During these inspections, the quality of the nature, range and appropriateness of the early educational experiences for children participating in the ECCE programme is evaluated. The main activity of an EYEI inspection is the observation, by the inspector, of the processes and practices relating to children’s learning in one or more learning rooms or areas in the early-years setting.
At the end of each inspection the early-years practitioners and the owners or managers (where available) are given feedback on the quality of educational provision in the setting.
Subsequently, a written report is sent to the pre-school inspector outlining the inspection findings and providing advice as to how educational provision can be further developed or improved.
Irish regulations require that all staff working in a pre-school service must hold a full, relevant award at a minimum of Level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), or equivalent as deemed by Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA).
If a person does not hold a qualification on the DCYA recognised qualifications list, the applicant is required to send to DCYA all the required documentation and apply for recognition of their qualifications. For the purposes of these regulations, DCYA require evidence of completed programmes of learning with which are specific to 0-6 years of age in child development, early childhood education – theory and practice, child health and welfare and evidence of professional practice in early years setting. Applicants who start employment without qualification recognition are in breach of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016.
DCYA has published a list of qualifications that meet the regulatory requirements for working in the Early Years sector in Ireland.
DCYA does not provide advice on qualification levels regarding National Framework of Qualifications. For information on where your qualification is placed on the NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications), please check with QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) on their website here.
For international qualifications, NARIC Ireland NARIC Ireland provides advice on the academic recognition of a foreign qualification by comparing it, where possible, to a major award type and level on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).
Work is continuing since May 2019 on the Workforce Development Plan.