Parents using childminders will not see same cost cuts as those using creches until end of 2023

Parents using childminders will not see same cost cuts as those using creches until end of 2023

Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman said: "We will create a simplified regulation system for childminders, recognizing they're very different to centre-based childminding. Once they are registered parents using their services will be able to draw down the NCS as well." File photo

Parents who send their children to childminders will not receive the same cost reductions as those using creches until at least the end of next year.

Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman announced a landmark €1.025bn for early learning and care, and school-aged childcare as part of the budget which means parents using a full-time service will see their childcare costs cut by 25% on average.

From January, all families accessing registered childcare services will receive an hourly subsidy of €1.40 off the cost, which is a jump of 90c on the current supports. The increased funding will take up to €2,106 per child off the current price parents are paying in fees each year.

However, Mr O'Gorman acknowledged that the vast majority of childminders are not registered with Tusla and so parents using their services will not receive the funding towards fees.

He said: "There has always been very substantial investments in centre-based learning and childminders have been left aside. I set out a very clear action plan on how we actually address that and how we provide appropriate regulation, appropriate educational supports, and then that will have to register under the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) childminding action plan."

Mr O'Gorman said childminding has been an "ad-hoc" sector of the economy and he understands that there are "concerns" around registration.

"We will create a simplified regulation system for childminders, recognizing they're very different to centre-based childminding. Once they are registered parents using their services will be able to draw down the NCS as well.

"I think it'll be probably in the latter part of 2023 or 2024 when we'll be able to achieve that but that is certainly a core goal for me and the department because we recognize that a very substantial number of parents rely on childminders."

As well as the package to help reduce childcare fees, the Department of Education has increased the amount paid out in core funding to providers by €59m. This money will go towards the cost of expanding capacity and increasing staff pay.

"In 2018, a commitment was made to at least double State investment in early learning and care and school-aged childcare. This commitment - made in First 5, the 10-year whole of government strategy for babies, young children and their families and endorsed in the Programme for Government – translated to an investment target of approximately €1bn by 2028.

“I am pleased to announce that we have exceeded this target – five years ahead of schedule," Mr O'Gorman said.

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