Q&A: How can I apply for the childcare supports?
Q: Who qualifies for the new childcare payments?
A: Everyone with children between six months and three years qualifies for at least the universal payment, which will be paid at a rate of €0.50 per hour.
That amounts to €80 per month for parents with a child in 40 hours' child care a week.
Households earning less than €47,500 after tax qualify for subsidies to help them pay for childcare for children up to 15 years of age.
These rates will be based on income and the age of the child (the younger the child, the higher the subsidy). However, the income scale has not yet been published.
We do know that parents earning less than €22,700 will qualify for the highest subsidies available.
This will be worth €5.38 for babies and then drops to €3.96 for school-aged children.
Q: How will the payments work?
A: The payments will be made by the Government directly to the childcare providers.
Q: What type of childcare counts for the payments?
A: Both the universal payment and the subsidised payments can only be made to registered childcare providers. This includes crèches, private childminders, pre-schools and after-school programmes.
Q: Who can register with Child and Family Agency Tusla to become a childminder?
A: Current legislation states that a person has to be minding three unrelated children outside of their home to qualify as a childminder.
Only around 150 childminders are registered with Tusla at the moment and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) is hoping to encourage more to sign up as a result of this initiative.
Q: Are unmarried couples at an disadvantage?
A: No. The thresholds apply to household income, and they apply to both parents provided those parents are living together. The DCYA is developing safeguards to ensure that all income in a household is taken into account.
It would be a crime for any family to only declare one income in order to avail of a higher level of support.
People who have two children under the age of 15 and who earn more than €51,300 will fall into the universal payment category.
Parents with three children can earn even more in a year - up to €55,100 - before they fall into the universal payment group.
Q: How can I apply for the supports?
A: The DCYA is developing an online system which will allow people to log on and fill out all of their particulars and to see registered childcare providers in their area:
Q: How can I find out if my childcare provider is registered?
A: The website www.Tusla.ie provides a county by county list of registered childcare providers. Use the website to check if your provider is already registered or to find providers in your area.