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Phone: 045-888 488 or 01-618 3007

Childcare Capital Programme for 2013

QUESTION NO: 572

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Ms. Fitzgerald)

by Deputy Anthony Lawlor for WRITTEN ANSWER on 03/07/2012

* To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if there are plans to run the childcare capital programme in 2013; if so, when will the application process commence; if he will give details of other financial supports available to childcare providers; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Anthony Lawlor T.D.

REPLY.

In Budget 2012, the Government announced a new Childcare Capital Programme to provide for remedial, maintenance and renovation work, and/or to purchase equipment for early education and childcare services. The programme was open to both community not-for-profit childcare facilities and private childcare facilities, that are currently participating in one of the three childcare programmes implemented by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA). The total funding available under the programme was €6 million and following an appraisal process 290 applications were approved for funding.

All programme funding is considered in the context of the annual estimates and budgetary process and it is not possible to advise the Deputy in advance of these discussions in relation to programmes to be funded in 2013.

My Department currently administers three childcare support programmes – the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme, the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) programme and the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme.

The Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme provides funding to community childcare not-for-profit services to enable them to charge reduced childcare rates to low income and disadvantaged families. Community childcare services qualify for grant aid on the basis of the level of service they provide and the profile of the parents benefiting from their service. Because of the current budgetary situation, new applications from community service providers to entry the programme in 2012 are only being considered in exceptional circumstances.

The Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) programme was introduced in September 2010. The CETS programme provides free childcare places in both community and commercial services to qualifying FÁS and Vocational Educational Committees (VECs) trainees and students. Again, due to the budgetary situation, no approvals for new childcare places are currently being considered under this programme. In the region of €63 million is being provided in 2012 to support the CCS and CETS programmes.

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme provides one free pre-school year to all eligible children in the year before commencing primary school. Both community and commercial childcare services are eligible to apply to participate in this programme. The cost of the programme is expected to be approximately €176 million in 2012, an increase of almost €10 million on the previous year. The ECCE programme will continue to be evaluated and developed as resources permit.

The local City and County Childcare Committees will advise childcare providers in relation to participation in these programmes and further information is available on the Department website.

Future developments relating to early years care and education will be considered during preparation of the new National Early Years Strategy 2012.