The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone T.D., has today marked the opening of the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) for online applications with An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD.
The National Childcare Scheme opened for online applications on Wednesday 20th 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.
Speaking at the event, An 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 €624m 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.
Notes to the Editors
This National Childcare Scheme is Ireland’s pathway to quality, accessible, affordable early learning and care and school aged childcare. The Scheme will replace the existing targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and more user-friendly scheme, and will include ‘wraparound’ care for pre-school and school-age children. The National Childcare Scheme will:
- Improve outcomes for children and support lifelong learning;
- Reduce poverty;
- Facilitate labour market activation; and
- Tangibly reduce the cost of childcare in Ireland for tens of thousands of families.