The cost of childcare can be a significant barrier for parents wanting to take up work, education or training. Budget 2016 provides two initiatives focused on increasing the affordability of childcare, to lay the foundation for providing more affordable childcare to a broader range of families.
• A single Affordable Childcare programme: Budget 2016 resources a dedicated Project Team to develop a single Affordable Childcare programme to provide working families with good quality childcare at a cost they can afford. Work on the Affordable Childcare programme will begin immediately, so that it can be in place by 2017. This single programme will replace existing targeted measures Community Childcare Subvention (CCS), along with the Training & Employment Childcare (TEC) programmes, comprising After-School Childcare (ASCC), Childcare Education & Training Support (CETS), and Community Employment Childcare (CEC), providing a new simplified subsidy programme, provided through both community/not-for-profit and private childcare providers. The objective is to make childcare more affordable for more families.
• Community Childcare Subvention: Budget 2016 provides for an additional 8,000 childcare places on the Community Childcare Subvention programme, providing affordable childcare for low income families.
In line with the development of a single Affordable Childcare programme outlined above, for the first time, these 8,000 low cost childcare places will be available through private as well as community/not-for-profit childcare providers. The €16 million in funding for these new places will be targeted at areas with identified need.
These 8,000 places are in addition to a further 5,000 low cost childcare places notified to the sector last week. Minister Reilly has been able to release these places with savings in achieved in 2015.
Together, these additional 13,000 low cost childcare places delivered through the Community Childcare Subvention programme will help keep Ireland’s recovery going, helping to bring its benefits to more households.
• After-school care: A number of measures are included to support the development of more after-school childcare options.
A €3 million capital fund will support childcare providers (both community/not-for-profit and private) who need minor funding to develop after-school services using existing school and other accessible community facilities. Work will also begin on the development of a Quality Framework for After-School provision, along with a consultation with children on their views about after-school childcare.