The National Healthy Childhood Programme Newsletter 6: Summer 2019

The HSE have launched a new website for parents and expectant parents You can find out more about this and other initiatives in the Healthy Childhood Programme Summer 2019 Newsletter from HSE Community Healthcare. Just click the link below to view and download the pdf.

The National Healthy Childhood Programme Newsletter 6: Summer 2019

Childminder Development Grant 2019

Carlow CCC are pleased to announced that the Childminding Development Grant 2019 is now open!!

A €1000 grant is available for people providing a home based childminding service. If you are childminding or are intending to open a childminding service in your own home, you can avail of the grant scheme.

The childminding development grant is designated to purchase toys, educational materials and equipment or make some minor household adaptations to assist you in developing quality home based childminding service.

To be eligible to apply for the grant, you should have the following

Minimum numbers of children in your service:

  1. a)3 children on a part time basis


  1. b) 1 child full time basis and 1 child on a part time basis

Completion of adequate training:

Quality Awareness Programme and Introduction to Always Children First: Tusla’s ELearning programme



Equivalent childminding course or quality related training.

  1. Required to operate as a childminder for a minimum of two years following receipt of the grant. 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  

Application Process

You may apply for a 90% grant up to €1,000 for small capital items. To get the maximum of €1,000 you need to spend €1,111 or more.

The Closing date for the Childminding Development Grant Application 2019 is Wednesday the 14th of August 2019.

CMDG Application form

Contact Carlow CCC 059 9140244 or email for more information.

DCYA Press Release re: National Childcare Scheme

Monday July 1st 2019

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, T.D., will update Government this week on the development of the new National Childcare Scheme.  Good progress is being made.  Many of the major elements are now in place in preparation for the Scheme’s opening in October 2019.

  •     Over 2,100 providers have signed up to participate in the Scheme.
  •     A dedicated website, launched in March, has received over 150,000 hits and over 50,000 parent information booklets have been distributed nationwide.
  •     A Parent Support Centre for the National Childcare Scheme opened last week.  It is available to assist parents or guardians with any queries regarding the new National Childcare Scheme. It is open Monday to Friday from 9:00am – 5:00pm and parents can contact the centre by calling (01) 906 8530.

While good progress is being made, the Minister noted that the development of the Scheme is highly complex and has thrown up challenges along the way.  This would be expected with a scheme of this size which will benefit many families across Ireland. In particular, the Minister referenced the development of the Scheme’s supporting ICT system.  The highly innovative system is being designed to deliver the option of a user-friendly, paperless, automated assessment process for parents.

The Minister explained:
“We know parents have a lot on their plate, so we are designing an application process that will be as safe, speedy and stress-free as possible.  This means that we have to plan for and develop 30,000 different applicant circumstances and choices through the system, to cater for all possible variations.”

Given the ambition of the National Childcare Scheme, and the associated challenges this brings, the experts overseeing its development have recommended a phased launch approach.  While the main IT system to deal with online applications is largely built, work is continuing on the supporting structures to deal with postal applications. We will deliver online, on time, in October.  The paper based system will be available in January for those who do not wish to apply online.

Parents will be able to apply for the Scheme online or by post.  In order to get the Scheme safely up and running, it will open firstly to online applications, commencing in October 2019, with subsidy payments flowing from November.  The Scheme will then open to paper-based (i.e. postal) applications in January 2020.  From this point on, parents can apply either via the online or the postal route.

Accepting the expert recommendation, the Minister noted that:
“This approach allows us to deliver the important benefits of the Scheme to parents and providers from this October as promised.  It also allows us to deliver the type of timely, user-friendly experience which we have worked so hard to design and which innovative ICT enables.  Alongside this, we have supports in place to ensure that any parent who wishes to apply online but lacks IT access or knowledge can get practical help.

“In addition to our new Parent Support Centre, all 30 of our City and County Childcare Committees are available to provide information and practical support to parents. We have also been working with and providing training to many key stakeholders and groups who support vulnerable families.  In addition, we have been delighted to engage positively with Intreo Offices, Citizens Information Services and library services, and will be continuing this important work in the weeks and months ahead.”

The Minister emphasised the importance of parents getting MyGovID-verified so that they are ready to apply for the Scheme once it launches later this year.

The Parent Support Centre will help parents with any queries they may have regarding the application process. Their local City or County Childcare Committee is also available to help.

The National Childcare Scheme is the first ever statutory entitlement to financial support for childcare in Ireland. It aims to improve outcomes for children, support lifelong learning, reduce child poverty and tangibly reduce the cost of quality childcare for thousands of families across Ireland.

To ensure continuity of service for both parents and providers, the existing childcare support programmes will continue to operate until the launch of the National Childcare Scheme and for the 2019/2020 programme year. Children registered on these schemes will be able to remain on them for the duration of the academic year or switch over to the National Childcare Scheme once it launches.

Further information for parents and providers is available on the Scheme’s dedicated website:

Press Release:

Universal Design Guidelines for Early Learning and Care Settings

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, launched the Universal Design Guidelines for Early Learning and Care Settings on Monday 10th June.  These guidelines offer guidance on building, renovation and refurbishment of centres for Early Learning and Care in Ireland.  It is quite a large document and has been split into different sections to make it easier to access the information you require.  There is a self-audit tool that will help existing services through the assessment of their current premises which is very useful.  These guidelines will be useful for anyone who is thinking of developing/building a new centre or making changes to an existing service.  All the information can be found at:-

Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook 2. The Practice Handbook 2 

Tusla – Child and Family Agency, is pleased to announce the launch of its new Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook 2. The Practice Handbook 2 is published as a companion document to the 2011 HSE Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook and Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (DCYA 2017).

The content of the Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook 2 was compiled from submissions from numerous stakeholders and content experts, both within Tusla and from partner agencies with particular expertise. The new Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook 2 is written for use by front-line social workers, their line managers and other professionals. Practice Handbook 2 is divided into four sections, following the categories identified in Children First: National Guidance (DCYA 2017: 11–12): Parent or Carer Factors, Child Factors, Community Factors, and Environmental Factors. Chapters are provided under each of these headings on factors identified in Children First: National Guidance as well as some additional areas. Chapters provide a short description of each topic area, followed by some key messages from research and a practice note to assist professionals in making evidence informed decisions and judgements.

The Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook 2 can be found on the link below

PIP Announcement: Compliance visits over the summer months

The Pobal Compliance team will continue to conduct unannounced visits to services that are operational over the summer months as per the service calendars uploaded to PIP for the 2018/2019 programmes cycle. For those services still operating, please ensure that all records relating to other programmes which may have ceased for the summer months (e.g. ECCE) are also available for review during such visits. The ServiceProvider Compliance 2018/2019 checklist should assist in collating the relevant information that forms part of the compliance checks. In addition, it is essential that all Roll books /Attendance records and fee records where applicable are accessible, as the information contained within will also form part of the compliance checks.
Log onto your PIP Portal to view announcement

Minister Zappone launches Open Policy Debate on regulations and quality improvement frameworks for School Age Childcare, 20th June 2019 

DCYA PRESS RELEASE: Thursday 20th June 2019

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs this morning launched an Open Policy Debate on the future development of regulations and a quality improvement framework for School Age Childcare in Ireland.

The focus of today’s debate is on development of full regulations and inspection of school age services in the future and how this might look. The Department is undertaking an extensive consultation in line with its commitment in the Action Plan for School Age Childcare.

This is part of a range of measures to engage with stakeholders on this issue. As well as the Open Policy Debate, a public consultation survey and call for submissions are available online on the Department’s website and open until 5th July. The Minister has called on all of those with an interest in School Age Childcare to participate in the online survey or to make a submission on the matter.

To open the discussion there are inputs from a number of speakers on the current and future regulatory context of School Age Childcare Services, draft standards for school age childcare, a children’s consultation on afterschool care and a comparison with other jurisdictions. Participants include school age childcare providers, Tusla – the Child and Family Agency, the community and voluntary sector, representative groups including organisations representing, parents and children’s rights.

The Minister said: “In setting regulations for School Age Childcare, children’s health, safety and wellbeing must come first. Regulation of School Age Childcare is also essential to allow providers to participate in the National Childcare Scheme. Although we have been discussing School Age Childcare for some time in Ireland, we are in the very early stages of actioning the necessary steps. It is vital that we gain the views of key stakeholders in order to find out what, will work best for children, families and for school age childcare providers.”

Follow Link: Minister-Zappone-launches-Open-Policy-Debate-on-regulations-and-quality-improvement-frameworks-for-School-Age-Childcare

DCYA Press Release, 10th June 2019

Minister Zappone confirms 3,600 New Childcare Places to be created in €6.25m investment
Funding for fire safety improvements also awarded


Monday 10th June 2019

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D., today announced a total of €6.25m in Capital funding to be awarded to providers of Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare this summer.

The funding will contribute towards the creation of new places for 0-3 year olds, new school age childcare places, and essential fire safety improvements for community-owned services.

The approved Early Learning and School Age Capital funding for 2019 will be made available to childcare centres, crèches and other childcare facilities across three strands, as follows:


Strand A (Early Learning and Care): New places for 0-3 year olds 

  • €3.7m total approved (€50k max. grant)
  • 87 applications approved for funding
  • 1,321 new 0-3 places to be created: 205 0-1 places, 1,116 1-3 places


Strand B (Early Learning and Care): Fire safety improvements (community only)

  • €0.3m total approved (€15k max. grant)
  • 33 applications approved for funding


Strand C (School Age): New places for school age children

  • €2.2m total approved (€20k max. grant)
  • 118 applications approved for funding
  • 2,308 new school age places to be created.


The capital funding has been awarded following the completion of a very competitive application and appraisal process.

Pobal have now begun the process of notifying all applicants of the outcomes of the Capital decisions. A list of these successful applications is included below.

Announcing this new funding, the Minister said:

“Quality accessible affordable childcare requires investment. The funding being announced today will translate into over 3,600 new and extra spaces for children up to the age of 15. It is another step as we seek to address the decades of under-investment and neglect by successive governments. Overall Government investment in early learning and care has jumped 117% since 2015.”





PIP Announcement: National Childcare Scheme Draft Regulations Published

The Childcare Support Act 2018 (Payment of Financial Support) Regulations, which have not yet been signed by the Minister, are referred to in the NCS contract and the Explanatory Guide.   These regulations are now being published in DRAFT form, and can be accessed at this link,  so that childcare providers can be fully informed of the terms and conditions of the new Scheme before signing up.


Programme Readiness 2019/20

The re-contracting process with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) childcare funding programmes 2019/20 will begin on Monday 10th June, 2019. 
The process this year will be similar to previous years, where each service provider must certify the 2019/20 PAU, Organisation details and Service details in order to activate any contracts.  
This year the following Programme Readiness features will be available from 10th June
–          PAU Certification
–          Organisation Details Certification
–          Service Details Certification
–          Re-contracting for ECCE, CCSP, TEC
–          National Childcare Scheme (NCS) contracting
–          Fees List
–          Service Calendars
–          NCS Transition Support Payment (NCS TSP)
–          NCS Capital
Information for ECCE and Targeted Childcare Programmes
The existing targeted childcare funding programmes (other than CCS) will continue until the commencement of NCS , and thereafter in a limited way.  The DCYA have issued the
Rules for DCYA Targeted Childcare Programmes , which outlines the rules for the legacy childcare schemes – Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP) and Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) programmes. Transition DCYA Targeted Childcare Programmes rules are available here
Please note that the Community Childcare Subvention Programme (CCS) will terminate at the end of the 2018/19 programme call.
ECCE is a standalone programme and will not be affected by the introduction of NCS. DCYA rules for the ECCE programme are available here
2019/20 Contracts for the existing DCYA funded childcare programmes will be available very shortly on the DCYA website
National Childcare Scheme (NCS)
To allow Service Providers to sign-up for the National Childcare Scheme in advance of the commencement of the Scheme, the NCS contracts will be available on PIP for activation until the NCS commencement in October 2019 (after which all contracting and related activities will take place on the new Early Years Platform).   The NCS contract can be found at this link,  and a set of explanatory notes to the contract is available here.
Both the NCS Transition Support Payment (TSP) application and the NCS Capital application will be available to all Service Providers who enter into contract on the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) for the 2019/20 programme call. 
Only the PAU will have permission to submit these application forms.  Only one application for the TSP and one application for the capital grant can be submitted in respect of a service.  The application forms can only be submitted when the National Childcare Scheme contract has been activated.
The application window for NCS TSP will open for 14 weeks from Monday June 10th to Friday September 13th
Payments will be calculated and issued from October 2019.
NCS Capital Grant Scheme
The application window for NCS Capital will open for 18 weeks from Monday June 10th to Friday October 11th
Payments will be issued on a weekly basis from October 2019.
For more information please refer to the Capital Grant Scheme guidelines which are available at this link.