National Childcare Scheme


On the 11th March 2019, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, announced the launch of the National Childcare Scheme, the pathway to quality, accessible, affordable Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare in Ireland.

The National Childcare Scheme is a landmark new Scheme for Ireland. 

It is the first ever statutory entitlement to financial support for childcare.
It establishes an equitable and progressive system of universal and income-related subsidies for children up to the age of 15.
It  also provides an innovative and user-friendly online application process to access those subsidies.  

Through all of the above, the National Childcare Scheme aims to improve children’s outcomes, support lifelong learning, make work pay, reduce child poverty and tangibly reduce the cost of quality childcare for thousands of families across Ireland. 

The Scheme provides a flexible, future-focused and sustainable platform to invest in quality Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare.

Recognising the central role of childcare providers, the Minister also announced a once-off Transition Support Payment which will be paid to all providers who participate in the Scheme.  The payment acknowledges the work involved in the initial transition period when both the new Scheme and the old legacy programmes will briefly run side by side. In announcing the payment, the Minister also emphasised her gratitude for the dedication and commitment demonstrated by those in the Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare sector.

Under the National Childcare Scheme, families will be supported to meet the cost of quality childcare through a system of universal and income-related subsides. Additional funding provided under Budget 2019 ensures an even greater number of families will now benefit from the Scheme when it opens.  The significant increase in the top net income threshold to €60,000 net income per year means 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.

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 very best.

The new National Childcare Scheme Newsletter is now available to download. The National Childcare Scheme team will be updating the newsletter on a regular basis with the latest news so we hope you find it informative and interesting.

The following topics are featured in this edition.

  • Applying for the Scheme
  • Supports for Parents
  • Continuity of Current Subsidies

Parent Support Centre is now open – Phone (01) 906 8530 – Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm

The National Childcare Scheme Website: