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Wednesday 19 June 2019

How the new National Childcare Scheme aims to help young families

Parents will be able to apply for the National Childcare Scheme from October. (Stock photo)
Parents will be able to apply for the National Childcare Scheme from October. (Stock photo)
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

The National Childcare Scheme will be rolled out from this October and will replace previous childcare support programmes.

Parents of children aged from 24 weeks to 15 years who are attending any Tusla-registered childcare service - including a registered childminder - will be entitled to some level of financial support.

There will be two types of subsidies, universal and income assessed.

Universal payments will be available to all families with children under three, and children over three who have not yet qualified for the free pre-school programme (ECCE).

This subsidy is not means-tested and provides 50c per hour towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 40 hours per week.

It will provide up to €20 a week, or €1,040 per year, towards the cost of a childcare place.

The income-assessed subsidy will be available for families of children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years with a net income of less than €60,000 a year.

It is means tested and the rate will vary depending on a family's income, the child's age and educational stage, and the number of children in the family. It can be used towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 40 hours a week if a parent is working, studying or training.

The Department of Children said this income-assessed subsidy will also be paid out in circumstances where a parent is "unavailable for childcare". It will also be paid for a maximum of 15 hours if a parent is not working, studying or training.

While the new scheme will replace existing subsidy programmes, such as the Community Childcare Subvention Programme and the Childcare Education and Training Support Programme, it won't affect the ECCE.

Parents will be able to apply for the National Childcare Scheme from October with the first payments - paid directly to the childcare provider - due to be made from November.

Irish Independent

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