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Parents can apply online from Wednesday, November 20, 2019, for the National Childcare Scheme, Ireland's first-ever statutory entitlement to financial support for families towards the cost of childcare.
The scheme provides subsidies to help parents meet the cost of quality early learning and care and school-age childcare. It will replace all previous targeted childcare support programmes with a single, streamlined and user-friendly scheme.
Universal subsidies will be available to all families with children under 3 years, or families with children over 3 years who have not yet qualified for the free preschool (ECCE) programme. The subsidy is not means-tested and provides up to €1,040 a year off the cost of a Tusla-registered childcare place, regardless of income.
A landmark new scheme for Ireland, it has been developed as the country's pathway to truly accessible, affordable, quality childcare. It establishes an equitable and progressive system of universal and income-related subsidies for children up to the age of 15.
The scheme also provides an innovative and user-friendly online application process to access those subsidies.
Through the National Childcare Scheme, the government is committed to changing Ireland’s childcare system from one of the most expensive in the world to one of the very best.
The National Childcare Scheme will increase the number of families who can access financial support. Many families will, for the first time, be entitled to subsidies which reduce their childcare costs significantly.
Income-assessed subsidies will be available to families with children aged between 6 months and 15 years. They are means-tested and will be calculated based on a family’s individual circumstances. The subsidy rate will vary depending on the level of reckonable family income, a child’s age and educational stage.
The subsidy can be used towards the cost of a Tusla-registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 40 hours per week where parents are working, studying or training and a maximum of 15 hours per week where parents are not working, studying or training.
The threshold for applying for Income-assessed subsidies is €60,000 reckonable income per year. Reckonable income is calculated by taking net family income (income after tax, PRSI and USC) and deducting any allowable items under the Scheme.
Through all of the above, the National Childcare Scheme aims to improve children's outcomes, support lifelong learning, make work pay, reduce child poverty and tangibly reduce the cost of quality childcare for thousands of families across Ireland.
The National Childcare Scheme allows Ireland to move forward with delivering the quality, accessible, affordable childcare that Ireland needs and deserves. The Scheme provides a flexible, future-focused and sustainable platform to invest in quality Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare. It is Ireland's commitment to children. It is part of Ireland's commitment to children and investment in families.
For more information, see: www.ncs.gov.ie.