Ministers Burton and Fitzgerald launch first phase of new afterschool childcare scheme


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Subsidised places will assist low-income families where parents are returning to work

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D. and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. have today (24th April 2013) announced that the first pilot phase of the new afterschool childcare scheme will begin on 29th April.
 
In this first phase, up to 500 childcare places will be made available to people who have been long-term unemployed or were former recipients of the One Parent Family Payment and who have received a job offer or have significantly increased their part-time hours.
 
Minister Burton said: “The provision of good quality, affordable childcare is one of the most important ways in which we help people get back to work. I was delighted in the Budget to secure agreement for this scheme, for which savings from my Department’s Vote provided €14 million in funding to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. This scheme will assist parents on low incomes to return to work, and when fully up and running, will make a crucial difference to thousands of families. It represents a further step in the Government’s long-term commitment to building a first-rate childcare system for all families.”
 
Minister Fitzgerald said: “I am delighted that this scheme will now be available and is an addition to the suite of childcare schemes provided and funded by my Department. Extending childcare provision has been a key priority for me. The initiative shows how Departments are working together to deliver on this Government’s agenda to promote employment and to support children’s development. This phase of the pilot is to give us an opportunity to learn how we can make the scheme most effective while minimising the administrative burden on customers and employers.”
 
The scheme will involve a Government subsidy of €35 per week and a parental contribution of €20 per week per child. During school holidays, the Government subsidy will increase to €100 per week but the parental contribution will remain at €20 per week.
 
In this phase, the scheme will be made available in seven locations through the Department of Social Protection Local Offices in Finglas, Dundalk, Tralee, King’s Inn Street in Dublin City Centre, Cork City, Mullingar and Limerick City (Dominic Street). Customers who meet the criteria will get a letter of eligibility from their Local Office, which will also inform them of the amount of afterschool childcare provision applicable. They will then be referred to their nearest County Childcare Committee who will connect them with the relevant providers.
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs will be responsible for providing the afterschool childcare places, including the contracting and payment of providers and overseeing quality standards.
 
The second phase of the pilot will be rolled out in July this year, with national rollout in September. A total of 6,000 places will be available when the scheme is implemented in full. The Department of Social Protection will provide €14 million in funding for the scheme.

ENDS
 

Note for Editors:

The first phase will be run as follows:
 

Eligibility

1) The scheme will be available to customers of the Department of Social Protection who:
  • are long-term unemployed, including previous OFP recipients who are now jobseekers;
  • avail of an employment opportunity (either full-time or part-time) or increase their days of employment; or
  • avail of a DSP employment programme, such as Community Employment (CE); AND
  •  have one or more children aged 4-13 years of age who are attending primary school.
2) For those in part-time employment, subsidised after-school childcare will be provided on a pro-rata basis.
 

Administration and Controls

3) The Department of Social Protection will oversee access to the scheme and will assess customers of the Department in order to determine if they are eligible to avail of the childcare support. Evidence of employment will be required from the employer. Once an individual has been deemed eligible, they will receive a letter confirming their eligibility and the amount of afterschool childcare provision applicable. They will then be referred to their nearest County Childcare Committee who will connect them with the relevant providers.
 
4) The Department of Children and Youth Affairs will be responsible for providing the after-school childcare places, including the contracting and payment of the childcare providers, quality standards for the provision of these places and for all other engagements with the providers and the County Childcare Committees.

Subvention rate and parental contribution

5) The rate of subsidy for the scheme is €35 per week rate of subvention and a parental contribution of €20 per week per child. During school holidays, the subvention rate will increase to €100 per week but the parental contribution will remain at €20 per week.
 

Duration of support and progression

6) Individuals who are granted a subsidised after-school care place will be able to retain this place for one year (52 weeks) while they remain in employment.
 

Roll-Out of Scheme

7) The afterschool childcare scheme will be rolled out in three stages. The first stage will commence in April 2013 and will provide 500 places in the following seven DSP Local Offices:
  • Tralee
  • Mullingar
  • Dundalk
  • Cork City
  • Finglas
  • King’s Inn
  • Limerick City (Dominic Street)
8) Approximately 70 afterschool childcare places will be available in each of the above pilot locations. The second stage will involve additional places coming on stream in July and the third stage will commence in September 2013, when the balance of the 6,000 places will come on stream.

Existing Childcare Provision

9) The Department of Children and Youth Affairs currently implements two childcare programmes, the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) scheme and the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) scheme. The subsidy paid to afterschool service providers for those qualifying under the CCS scheme is €32 per week.
 
Between both of these schemes, subsidised childcare is provided to 40,000 children of low-income parents. Approximately 1,600 providers, both community and commercial, participate in the CETS scheme.
 
In addition, the Department administers the free Pre-School Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme, which is availed of by over 65,000 children each year at an annual cost of €175 million.

Last modified:24/04/2013
 

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