Carlow County Childcare Committee aims to support parents in all aspects of childcare provision in the Carlow area including advice on choosing childcare, parent and toddler groups and financial supports available.

Types of Childcare

When and if the time comes to handing your child over to a stranger, you need to be fully informed of the different types of childcare services. This can be a daunting task for any parent and the type of childcare that you need will depend on your needs, your child’s needs and the type of childcare that you prefer. There are a number of options when it comes to childcare. Services can be Community or privately run, centre based in a childcare facility or home based in your or the carers home.

carlow childcare

Sessional Services:

A sessional service refers to a programmed for children for up to 3.5 hours per session.  Services may offer a morning and/or afternoon session.

Part-Time Services:

A part-time day care service refers to a programme for children over 3.5 hours and less than 5 hours per day.

Full Day Services:

A full day care service refers to a programme of activities for children for more than 5 hours per day.  A full day service may include sessional and part-time services and School Age Childcare services for children attending primary school.

School Age Services:

A School Age service provides for the care needs of children before school starts in the morning, after school finishes in the afternoon and during school holidays and pre-planned school closures.

A List of approved Carlow Services can be found here.


Childminding services refers to care for children within a childminders home.

A List of approved Carlow Childminders can be found here.

For further information please contact Carlow CCC. 059 9140244

Recommended Links

Tusla Tips for parents when selecting an Early Years Service

Tips for parents when selecting a Childminder

Government Funded Schemes

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) operate a number of Childcare Schemes. These schemes provide free or reduced rate childcare to eligible children and their parents.

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE):

This programme is a universal childcare programme otherwise known as ‘free pre-school’ with the stated objective of providing children with their first formal experience of early learning. It is delivered to children of pre-school age (2 years 8 months to 5 years 6 months) prior to commencing primary school and is provided for 3 hours per day, 5 days per week over 38 weeks per year.

There is an ECCE calculator on our home page for your use.

For further information click here: ECCE Parent Information leaflet

Community Childcare Subvention (CCS): This programme provides childcare funding support targeting low income families in community childcare services.

Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP): This programme provides childcare funding support targeting low income families in private childcare services and community childcare services.

Community Childcare Subvention Universal (CCSU): All families are eligible for financial childcare support for children between the ages of six months and the time at which they are eligible for the free pre-school programme. This subsidy will NOT be means tested and therefore will be available for families at any income level. To qualify the parent must provide both the child and parent PPS number to the childcare provider.

Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (CSSR): This programme provides childcare support to Programme Refugees to support their resettlement and integration into Irish society.

Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (Transitional) (CSSR(T)): As part of the “Rebuilding Ireland – an Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness” the DCYA has provided access to free childcare for children of families experiencing homelessness.

Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) Programmes: These programmes provide childcare funding support for parents participating in eligible ETB/Solas vocational training courses, Community Employment (CE) programmes or returning to employment.

For further information click here: TEC Parent Information leaflet

For any additional information please contact Carlow County Childcare Committee on 059 9140244 


visit :

Each service is obliged to supply a fees list which would show you what you will pay for your childcare. You should also receive a service calendar which will state the days that the service will be closed.

Further information is available in the 2018-2019-A-Parents-Guide-to-Childcare

*** 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 Minister also announced a national Communications Campaign for the Scheme to raise awareness and help both parents and providers to prepare for the Scheme’s opening in October.  The campaign includes:

  •      The launch of a new website-
  •      The publication of a range of information resources, including general information leaflets, detailed booklets and Frequently Asked Questions.  Further resources, such as online videos, ‘how to guides’ and a useful childcare subsidy calculator, will be added in the months ahead
  •      A dedicated helpline from April onwards for parents who have queries in relation to the new Scheme
  •      A nationwide training programme for providers, providing over 12,500 training places across 600 venues, with webinars and e-learning options also available (available to book via Eventbrite from today)
  •      A media campaign in May encouraging parents to get a MyGovID verified account so that they can access the Scheme in the fastest, most user-friendly way
  •      A major information campaign in September and October

An overview of the timeline of key events taking place between March and October 2019 will be available on the new website-

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 Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a model of supports designed to ensure that children with additional needs can access the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme.  Its goal is to empower pre-school providers to deliver an inclusive pre-school experience, ensuring that every eligible child can meaningfully participate in the ECCE Programme and reap the benefits of quality early years care and education.

AIM is a child-centred model, involving seven levels of progressive support, moving from the universal to the targeted, based on the needs of the child and the pre-school service. For many children, the universal supports offered under the model will be sufficient.  For others, one particular discrete support may be required to enable participation in the ECCE Programme, such as access to a piece of specialised equipment.  For a small number, a suite of different services and supports may be necessary.  In other words, the model is designed to be responsive to the needs of each individual child in the context of their pre-school setting.  It offers tailored, practical supports based on need and does not require a formal diagnosis of disability.

AIM provides a suite of universal and targeted supports across 7 levels. For more information please visit :

Parent & Toddler Groups

A Parent and Toddler Group is an informal group within the local community, which provides an opportunity for young children and their parents/carers to meet. All children are cared for by the adult that attends with them.  There are many benefits for parents and children participating in P&T Groups i.e. building new friendships, support systems and children develop their social skills.

There are currently 12 P&T groups in Co Carlow.

A List of Carlow Parent and Toddler groups can be found here.

If you are interested in starting up a Parent & Toddler Group there are grants available through Carlow CCC which could entitle you to up to €1000. Please contact Carlow CCC on 059-9140244.

Aistear Information for Parents

Parents play a key role in their children’s education.  Effective early childhood settings and schools take account of the influence of the home on children’s learning and they build on the experience children bring to the setting or school.  Establishing strong links with parents helps make children’s education as successful as possible.

The NCCA developed Aistear:the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework (2009) in partnership with the early childhood sector.

For more information and lots of useful resources go to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) Aistear Toolkit at

Síolta Information For Parents

Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education is designed to define, assess and support the improvement of quality across all aspects of practice in early childhood are and education (ECCE) settings where children aged birth to six years are present.

 For more information to go to www.sí

Partnership with Parents

Parents and professionals working in partnership benefit children. The essence of partnership is respectful listening and sharing of information between parents and practitioners about children’s learning and development at home and at an early childhood care and education (ECCE) service. The partnership involves responsibility on both sides.

Please click here for more information on Partnership with Parents

Statutory Regulations

The Early Years sector is currently inspected by the following:

                                    Tusla Early Years Inspectorate

                                    Department of Education Early Years Education Focused Inspections

                                    Pobal Compliance Checklist

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) has responsibility for  Regulations and for developing policy in the Early Years sector.

Under the Child Care Act 1991 as amended by the Child and Family Agency Act 2013 the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) is charged with ensuring the health, safety and welfare of pre-school children attending services. Pre-school care providers are required to notify Tusla – the Child and Family Agency that they are providing services.  Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate has published a Quality and Regulatory Framework (QRF), to help childcare services to comply with the Regulations. The QRF designed around the quality and safety of the care provided to children.

Pobal on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA),  conducts compliance visits with each participating childcare service who operates one or more of the National Childcare Programmes.

Child Protection

Children First, National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017, applies to all those working in a voluntary or paid capacity with children and families. It outlines the roles and responsibilities in relation to recognising, responding and reporting child protection and welfare concerns. Early Years Providers are mandated under Children First to inform Tusla when they have reasonable grounds for concern that a child may have been, is being, or is at risk of being abused or neglected. 

The National Vetting Bureau Act 2012-2016 makes it mandatory for persons working with children or vulnerable adults to be vetted. 


Meitheal is a National Practice Model developed by Tusla which ensures that the needs and strengths of children and their families are effectively identified and understood and responded to in a timely way so that children and families get the help and support needed to improve children’s outcomes and realise their rights.

Children and families are most likely to do well if they are provided with appropriate support in a timely fashion that is coordinated, and there is good communication and partnership working between professionals. Supporting families and keeping children safe is everyone’s business. Families should experience services as easily accessible and integrated at the front line in their own communities. Meitheal is an early intervention, multi-agency (when necessary) response tailored to the needs of an individual child or young person.

The Child and Family Support Network coordinator for the Carlow area is:

Sandra Collins, (059) 0129500

More information can be found at : Tusla Meitheal


Any concerns you may have should be discussed directly with the early years’ service provider. Providers are required by the childcare regulations to have a complaints policy outlining how your concern will be managed. You are advised to put your concern in writing to the early years’ service and request a copy of their complaints policy.

If you are dissatisfied with the response received from the provider or have reasons that you feel are prohibiting you from bringing the matter to your provider directly, you may contact Tusla. Tusla does not investigate individual concerns or complaints. They review all information, about early years’ services and assess this information against the childcare regulations with a view to forming an opinion. You will receive an acknowledgment indicating if your concern has been accepted by the Early Years Inspectorate. They may also contact you to clarify information you have provided.

If the inspectorate considers that a risk to the health and welfare of children in an early years’ service is present, the Inspectorate will take appropriate actions with the service provider to ensure that the risk is addressed. Information will be treated as received in confidence, however they may not in all incidences be able to guarantee anonymity.

If you wish to contact Tusla regarding a concern you have about an early years service you may do so in a number of ways:

By email at:

By telephone:  061 461700

You may also download the unsolicited information form here. This form can be emailed to them or posted to:

Unsolicited Information Office
Early Years Inspectorate
2nd Floor
Estuary House,
Henry St.

Recommended Websites

Tusla Family and Community Support

Tusla Parenting 24seven

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