Budget 2017 announced a radical redesign of how we deliver support to make quality childcare accessible and affordable for families in Ireland. The Affordable Childcare Scheme (ACS) will provide financial support for parents towards the cost of childcare. It will provide a system from which both universal and targeted subsidies can be provided towards the cost of childcare.
This new Scheme will replace the existing targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and more user-friendly scheme and will include “wraparound‟ care for pre-school and school-age children. The ambition of this project is immense; its scope matched only in size by its complexity. Once launched, this scheme will:
In the meantime supports are available to make childcare more affordable for your family.
The families of over 80,000 children are currently receiving supports, including universal supports of up to €1,040 for children under 3 and up to €145 per week for children aged up to 15 in families that need it most.
If you would like to know more about how you might avail of a childcare place under any of these government schemes, please contact one of our creche managers at locations and we will be happy to assist you.
What is the ECCE scheme?
The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme provides early childhood care and education for children of pre-school age. The scheme is offered in early years settings (pre-schools, Montessori’s, creches, playgroups) for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, 38 weeks of the year.
All children are entitled to 2 full academic years on the ECCE scheme.
Children are eligible to start the ECCE scheme in the September of the year that they turn 3 years old. For example, a child turning 3 years old in 2019 can be registered on the ECCE scheme in September 2019.
The National Childcare Scheme is our pathway to truly accessible, affordable, quality childcare. From October 2019 it will replace all previous targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and user-friendly Scheme to help parents meet the cost of quality childcare.
Supports are available for families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years who are attending any participating Tusla registered childcare service, including any Tusla registered childminder.
There are two types of subsidies under the National Childcare Scheme:
Universal Subsidies are available to all families with children under three years old. They are also available to families with children over three years who have not yet qualified for the free preschool 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.
Income Assessed Subsidies are available to families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years. This subsidy is means tested and will be calculated based on your individual circumstances. Your rate will vary depending on your level of family income, your child’s age and educational stage, and the number of children in your family. The subsidy can be used towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 40 hours if you are working, studying or training, or in circumstances where you are unavailable for childcare, and a maximum of 15 hours if you are not working, studying or training.