DCYA PRESS RELEASE 28th January 2020 re: Proposed Early Years Protest, 5th Feb.

Department of Children and Youth Affairs FAQs on the proposed Early Years protest 5 February 2020

Published: 28 January 2020
From: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs understands that some childcare providers intend to close, or reduce their service provision, to support a protest on 5 February, 2020. The Department has received a number of queries from providers and parents relating to this matter.

In order to assist everyone affected, the Department would like to offer the following information.

Will services which close receive their normal ECCE and other scheme payments?

  • The Department has received legal advice that if services close for the protest day, or if they do not provide a service to a particular group of children and their parents, the Department will not be in a position to provide funding for that day. This is in accordance with the existing contracts. Protests of this kind are not covered, for example, by force majeure.
  • The Department is not in a position to fund an alternative day where services propose to make up the time lost from the protest on another occasion.

What do services need to do if they are going to close or reduce their service on Feb 5?

  • If a service closes, or partially closes as a result of the protest, providers must submit their revised calendars to Pobal in advance of any closure.
  • In addition, providers must notify Pobal that they have closed (or partially closed) on 5 February, so that payments can be adjusted accordingly. Again, this provision is in line with the Funding Agreements signed by providers. Pobal will, in early February, publish a form on PIP for providers to use to notify them of a closure. This form will make clear the timeframe requirement for the notification.

Can City / County Childcare Committees advise services about protesting?

  • City / County Childcare Committees have no role in advising providers about any decision to protest.
  • They remain available to assist parents and providers with regard to all DCYA schemes and initiatives.

Do services have DCYA funding stopped when a child is late, sick or goes home early?

  • Changes to funding support for a child are made only when a child changes their pattern of attendance, for example for full day to part time, or from a 5 day week to a 4 day week.
  • If a child has a serious illness, the provider can receive funding from the Department, even if the child is absent for up to 12 weeks. Pobal or the CCCs are available to provide further information on this as required.

Reports suggest that a significant number of services have closed, are these reports correct?

  • The Department is not aware that any service has had to close due to being refused insurance. Tusla has also said that every service which intended to re-register succeeded in doing so.
  • The number of services in operation remains stable at approximately 4,500 and capacity has increased year on year.
  • That said, DCYA is aware of the many challenges that exist for providers and continues to make support available, through a variety of sources.

What was the average Programme Support Payment paid out in December?

  • The average Programme Support Payment that issued in December was €1,500 and ranged from small amounts, to very large amounts, depending on the size of the service and the number of children on DCYA schemes.

Is it true that there has been no increase to capitation in recent years?

  • The ECCE capitation was increased by 7% in January 2018.
  • In addition to this increase in both the standard and higher capitation payments, the Department changed the rules relating to higher capitation for ECCE in 2016 to enable more services to access it.
  • Currently 50% of all ECCE services are in receipt of higher capitation, compared to 10% in 2010 Other additional payments have been introduced, for example, under AIM, additional funding of €2 per ECCE child, per week, for services with Inclusion Coordinators. In 2019 €27m was paid to providers in Programme Support Payments.
  • The maximum subsidy to parents available under the NCS now stands at €204 per child per week whereas under the previous DCYA funding schemes, including the CCSP and TEC, the maximum subsidy was €145.

Follow link to full press release: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/769eb5-department-of-children-and-youth-affairs-faqs-on-the-proposed-early-/

PIP Announcment re: Closure of Saver Management Window, Monday 13th January

Reminder: Savers Management Window closes on Monday 13th January, 2020

Dear Service Provider,
This is a reminder that the Savers Management Window for CCSP registrations will close on Monday 13th January, 2020.
Please ensure that you have submitted any amendments to registrations before this date. After this date, any changes to existing CCSP registrations can only be made in the next Savers Management Window, which is scheduled for 14th February.
For more information, please refer to the NCS Savers 2019 FAQs which are available on the PIP Portal under ‘Resources’
Early Years Team

Childcare capital grants 2020

January 6, 2020

Minister Zappone secures €8.1 million for childcare capital grants across 2020

Published: 27 December 2019
From: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Extra spaces and funding to support regulatory compliance priorities for Childcare investment in 2020.

Programmes will be open for applications from early learning and care and school age childcare services in February 2020.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, is pleased to announce the details of the 2020 Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital programmes. The Minister has secured €8.1 million for childcare capital grants across 2020.

€7.2 million of this will be used for the Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital programmes, an increase of over €1 million on the 2019 capital programme for this sector.

The programmes will be open for applications from early learning and care and school age childcare services in February 2020.

Service providers will be invited to apply for funding under the following strands:

Strand A: Creation of new places for 0-3 year olds – €5.5 million (max. €50,000 per grant).

Strand B: Works required for regulatory compliance for community services – €1 million (max. €1,200 per grant).

Strand C: Creation of new school age places – €700,000 (max. €20,000 per grant).

The funding objective is the continued expansion of early learning and care places for 0-3 year olds, and to create additional places for school age childcare.

Funding is also being made available to support community/not-for-profit early learning and care services in addressing issues identified during the process of Tusla re-registration.

Commenting on the launch of the Capital fund, Minister Zappone said:

“2019 has been a very significant year in our efforts to transform one of the most expensive childcare services in the world into the best. The landmark and highly innovative National Childcare Scheme (NCS) launched in November, and I believe it is our future pathway to quality, accessible and affordable childcare in Ireland.
“Demand for childcare places continues to grow in many parts of the country, and I am delighted to have secured capital funding of €7.2 million to support a further increase in capacity in the sector.
“I would like to thank childcare providers for their continued delivery of high quality services, and I am pleased to note that many providers are committed to growing their services to meet growing demand. I recently launched the Pobal Annual Sector Profile for 2019, it also reports that almost a quarter of all services intend to expand in the next 12 months, creating over 15,000 additional spaces for children nationwide. This demonstrates 218,000 places in 2019 compared to 104,000 places 5 years ago. This capital programme will help them to do that.”

The capital programme will be administered by Pobal on behalf of the department.

Further information on the application process, including detailed application guidelines, will be made available to services in February 2020.

Childcare providers are encouraged to contact their local City/County Childcare Committee with any queries on the programme and the application process.

Contact details and links to websites of all local City/County Childcare Committee can be found on www.myccc.ie.

DCYA PRESS RELEASE: Minister Zappone Announces Additional Support Payment for Childcare Providers

Minister Zappone Announces Additional Support Payment for Childcare Providers

Minister Zappone Announces Additional Support Payment for Childcare Providers

Published: 18 December 2019
From: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs today announced an additional programme support payment for 2018/19. This payment is in recognition of the additional administration that childcare providers were tasked with in 2019.

The Minister said:

“I would like to particularly acknowledge the pressures services have faced in 2019 and to acknowledge the pressure and stress that deadlines bring. I hear this clearly from the sector. To recognise how difficult this has been I have approved an additional once off Programme Support Payment to providers which will be made in the coming days, that is December 2019. This is in addition to the Programme Support Payment already given to providers for this year.”

This funding of €7 million will facilitate an additional payment of c. €1,500 on average to individual providers with the actual amount varying according to service size.

The Programme Support Payment recognises the additional time required of providers of DCYA-funded early learning and care and school age childcare programmes, to complete the administrative work associated with the scheme. The payment also recognises the time required to perform activities outside of contact time with children, such as preparing materials for early learning and care sessions and assisting parents in understanding how they might benefit from the various childcare schemes supported by the State.

While significant progress has been made in the area of Childcare, 2019 has been a challenging year. Beyond educating and caring for children, many Childcare providers now offer the new National Childcare Scheme whilst continuing to operate the existing childcare schemes. In addition the re-registration of services and the introduction of necessary regulations, while important to support safety and quality, also requires childcare providers to undertake additional responsibilities including further administrative work to demonstrate compliance.

Upcoming Hanen Teacher Talk Training – January 2020

Upcoming Hanen Teacher Talk Training – January 2020

Better Start will be delivering Hanen Teacher Talk in Tipperary, Donegal, Dundalk, Galway, Wexford, Connemara and Fingal beginning in January 2020.
Services in receipt of AIM supports within the last 6 months will be eligible for the training. Invitations will be sent to the PIP primary contact email over the coming days.
Each service can register up to two staff members per training.
Please note that each staff member can only avail of a maximum of 18 hours of paid CPD training per calendar year.

DCYA PRESS RELEASE: Taoiseach and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone TD host event marking launch of National Childcare Scheme

Taoiseach and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone TD host event marking launch of National Childcare Scheme

Published: 11 December 2019
From: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone TD has today marked the opening of the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) for online applications with the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD.

The National Childcare Scheme opened for online applications on Wednesday 20 November 2019.

Acknowledging this achievement, Minister Zappone stated:

“This is a landmark moment for children and families in Ireland. Through the National Childcare Scheme, families have the first ever statutory entitlement to financial support towards the cost of childcare. The Scheme is our pathway to quality, accessible, affordable early learning and care and school age childcare.”

Using a verified MyGovID account, families can apply directly for subsidies at www.ncs.gov.ie. Subsidies can then be used with any participating, Tusla registered, early learning and care and school age childcare service, including Tusla registered childminders. The Scheme’s innovative, purpose-built IT system aims to process a universal application in a matter of minutes, and an income assessed application in a matter of days.

On the application process, Minister Zappone noted:

“This is a highly innovative and ambitious Scheme and I am delighted that the initial volume of applications has been high. As of yesterday, nearly 12,000 applications, relating to over 17,000 children, had already been successfully submitted, and over 8,000 awards had been made to parents. There are a range of helpful resources for families on the NCS website, and we have extended the opening hours of the National Childcare Scheme Parent Support Centre from 8.00pm to 6.00pm Monday to Saturday. We would ask parents and providers to please bear with us if there are any slight delays in the early days.”

The Minister was joined by the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD.

Speaking at the event, the Taoiseach said:

“The new National Childcare Scheme is about giving our children the best start in life. It’s an investment in making life easier for families, better outcomes for children, and helping to make Ireland one of the best countries in which to grow up and raise a family.
“Families with young children have a lot of pressures – and among these is access to quality childcare that is affordable. The National Childcare Scheme increases the number of families who can access financial assistance. Many families will, for the first time, be entitled to subsidies. Many others will see increases in their subsidies.
“As a government our mission over the past two-and-a-half years has been to develop better work-life balance, for example, bringing in better parental leave, paternity benefit, paid parental leave and early childhood education. As we all know correcting decades of under-investment will take some time, but it is happening. Next year we will spend €624 million on childcare. Today over 175,000 children across our country are benefitting from government childcare initiatives.”

Under the National Childcare Scheme, families will be supported to meet the cost of quality early learning and care and school age childcare through a system of universal and income-related subsides. Additional funding provided under Budget 2019 ensures that an estimated 7,500 additional children will benefit from the Scheme, with over 40,000 other children, already eligible, seeing increases to their subsidies. Income based subsidies are available to families with reckonable household incomes of up to €60,000 which can translate into as much as over €90,000 gross for families in certain specific circumstances.

The National Childcare Scheme is paving the way for Ireland’s childcare system to transform from one of the most expensive in the world into one of the best.

Further information and resources for parents are available at www.ncs.gov.ie.

Full Press Release

DCYA PRESS RELEASE: 5th November 2019

Minister Zappone welcomes international recognition for AIM programme

Published: 5 December 2019
From: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

  • additional funding of €10 million secured under Budget 2020 for the programme, which provides both universal and targeted supports to help children with disabilities participate in mainstream pre-school
  • over 11,700 children in over 3,200 services nationally have received supports to date

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD, has today welcomed the shortlisting of the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) for two significant international awards. The programme provides a range of both universal and targeted supports to help children with disabilities access and fully participate in free, mainstream pre-school.

AIM has been shortlisted for an Innovation award as part of the European Social Services Awards, as well as a Zero Project Award, in recognition of the programme’s significant contribution to children’s inclusion.

AIM supports respond to the needs of the child and to the needs of the pre-school setting the child is participating in. They promote inclusion for children with disabilities in mainstream pre-schools, and access for all children to the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) free pre-school programme. AIM was launched in June 2016, with the first supports rolled out in time for the 2016/2017 pre-school year.

Since the launch of the scheme, over 11,700 children in over 3,200 services nationally have benefited directly from targeted supports. In an independent review carried out in the second year of AIM’s operation, 78% of parents reported their child had benefited, and 76% of services said that AIM had made the culture at their preschool more inclusive.

Minister Zappone recently announced €10 million in additional funding for AIM under Budget 2020.

Welcoming the nominations, Minister Zappone said:

“Participation in pre-school benefits all children, and the benefits can be even greater for children with disabilities. We want to make sure early learning and care providers are given all the supports they need to make all our pre-schools truly inclusive.
“The increased funding for AIM under Budget 2020 will enable up to 1,000 more children to benefit directly from targeted supports.
“I am delighted that the AIM programme has been recognised for its innovation and its impact, and wish the team the best of luck in the awards.”

For more information on AIM, check www.aim.gov.ie.

Full Press Release

PIP announcement: NCS Attendance Returns

***National Childcare Scheme (NCS) Attendance Returns***

Dear Early Years’ Service Provider,

The National Childcare Scheme was launched on Wednesday, 20th November and many of you will now be submitting returns on a weekly basis. Below are some useful reminders regarding returns:

– Returns must be submitted on a weekly basis for all children attending your service who are registered for the National Childcare Scheme.

– Returns for the previous week will become available for submission on the Early Years Hive each Sunday at 23.30 and need to be successfully submitted by the following Wednesday at 23.30 in order for payments to reach your registered bank account by the following Friday.

– Any returns submitted outside of this timeframe will subsequently be processed the following week as a result.

– Please see the Returns quick guide on the Early Years Hive for assistance on how to submit a return.

– Two new attendance tracker tools have also been added to the Programme Information section of the Early Years Hive; a 5-day version and a 7-day version. It is not a requirement for service providers to use these tools, however, you may find them helpful for keeping accurate attendance records for the children attending your service.

If you need any further clarification, please contact your local CCC or the Early Years Provider Centre on 01 511 7222 / eypc@pobal.ie.

National Childcare Scheme is now open

The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) website has been updated and the subsidy calculator is online.  Parents can now apply to join the scheme.


To apply online please click on the link below and hit the ‘apply’ button (under the NCS logo, top right)



To go directly to the subsidy calculator click here: https://ncs.gov.ie/en/childcare-subsidy-calculator-input/

PIP Announcement re: CCSP Closing Date (Today) 15th November

CCSP Closing 15th November​

CCSP will close for new registrations at midnight on Friday 15th.  Registrations with a status of submitted, provisional or approved will be eligible saver registrations.   Any amendments to registrations can be made during the saver management windows.

Under no circumstances will new registrations will be accepted or approved after 15th November.


Please see link to Savers FAQs here