Wednesday 23 October 2019

Budget 2020: Boost for parents as early learning and childcare gets €54m

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Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Parents will benefit from a commitment to increase funding for early learning and childcare by €54m in Budget 2020.

Finance minister Paschal Donohoe said this will support the Early Childhood Care and Education scheme (ECCE) for pre-school children and support the previously announced National Childcare Scheme (NCS), which is set to open to parents and providers on October 29.

NCS is a new statutory entitlement to financial support for childcare in Ireland. It aims to improve outcomes for children, support lifelong learning and working families.

The €54m commitment in Budget 2020 is part of an extra €94m Mr Donohoe is allocating for the Department of Children.

It includes increasing allocations for TUSLA by more than €29m, bringing annual spending for the Child and Family Agency to €814m. Mr Donohoe said this will support private residential and foster care. He said the increased funding will also help reduce the number of children allocated to individual social workers.

In total, the annual spend on early learning care and school age childcare programmes increases to more than €628m per annum, a 9.3pc increase in 2020 compared to this year.

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