Tallaght families will receive extra childcare support from September as an extra €19m is pumped into the scheme, according to Dublin South West TD and Independent Minister, Katherine Zappone.
The Minister says the changes being introduced will move the childcare system from being one of the most expensive in the world to one of the best.
Minister Zappone is confirming that 70,000 families nationwide will be see the burden of paying for childcare cut – with those households on lower incomes set to benefit the most.
Making the announcement Minister Zappone said:
“The cost of childcare is a major burden on families in Tallaght. Many tell me that it is the equivalent to a second mortgage or rent.
“We are now taking steps to ensure the maximum number of families in Tallaght will see that burden eased from September.
“The Government has also agreed that a major information campaign will be launched next month so everyone is in Tallaght is aware of their entitlements.
“I am asking that every effort is made to ensure the campaign will reach every family in Tallaght.
“By easing the cost of childcare we will also open up opportunities for parents to accept job, training and education opportunities.
“The changes coming in September are a significant step forward. However there is more work to be done.
“We are working to extend benefits to more families and building an IT system to simplify applications.
“Further investment will be required and we are working to secure that.”
The childcare supports available from this September will include:
· A new universal childcare subsidy for children aged 6 months up to 36 months old (or commencement of the free pre-school programme). This new universal childcare subsidy will benefit up to 33,000 children. For children in full-time, registered childcare, it will amount to €1,000 per annum.
· Significant increases of up to 50 per cent in childcare subvention rates provided under the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme for children aged 6 months up to 15 years old.
· Up to 23,000 children and their families currently availing of childcare supports under this Scheme will benefit from these increases. For example, parents availing of full-time childcare who currently have had their childcare costs subsidised by €95 per week under this Scheme will see their subvention rate rise to €145 per week.
· Up to 7,000 additional children and their families are expected to benefit from this Scheme for the first time from September due to improved access to this Scheme through a greater number of community/ not-for-profit and private childcare providers throughout the country. These children and their families too will benefit from these generous increases in childcare subvention rates.
Children and families can avail of these new levels of childcare subsidies under a number of circumstances, including if they are in receipt of Family Income Support or of they have a medical card or a GP only card.
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs is working with Pobal and a number of Government Departments to build a fully automated IT system which will ultimately be used to access and administer childcare supports.
When that IT system is available, existing levels of investment will allow a further 9,000 families to benefit from more affordable childcare.