Announced by Minister Zappone in relation to Community

Community Childcare supports extended

“Year-round registration for centres caring for 25,000 children and special purpose fund introduced”
Statement by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone

15th February, 2017

Children, parents and community childcare services are to receive extra support with immediate effect, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.

The Minister has announced that:

· Community services are to be allowed register children for the CSS (Community Childcare Subvention Programme) on a year-round basis for the first time ever
· €1m is being made available to community childcare services who have been facilitating the placement of Community Employment (CE) scheme workers, to ensure these services are supported to meet the minimum qualification requirements under the childcare quality regulations

Minister Zappone says these announcements will open up new opportunities for parents seeking work and ensure that their children are being cared for by properly trained staff.

Making the announcement the Children’s Minister said:

“The 820 community childcare providers receiving support from my Department are in the frontline of efforts to end poverty.

Their services not only benefit the development of children but also open up opportunities for parents to seek education, training and work.

Year-round registration will ensure that parents accepting offers of work should have easier access to subsidised childcare – and not face a delay.

However the practice of limiting the registration period for children to access these services was a barrier. By removing this and allowing year-round registration we are creating new opportunities.

In addition I have become keenly aware that new qualification requirements for staff in the community settings were causing problems – as they can no longer rely on people in Community Employment Schemes as part of core staff ratios required by regulations.

As Minister my first consideration must be the safety of children – that will never change.

However in response to concerns of parents and centres and in preparation for the implementation of the childcare regulations, my Department invited all community services through Childcare Committees Ireland to participate in an exercise to determine the impact of the new regulations on their services.

This exercise has now concluded and indicates that the vast majority of community services are not negatively impacted. For those services who had come to rely on CE worker, I am providing up to €1m on a once-off basis to support them during this transitional stage.

2017 will be the year when we will finally start making childcare equal and fair – these announcements are another step towards that goal.”