Childcare services in Laois and across the country are being invited to be part of childcare changes which it is claimed will see families benefit by an extra €19m from September, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.
The Minister is writing to 4,200 providers as part of the first phase of a major awareness campaign. Information packs are also being sent to every creche, pre-school and registered child minder.
In her cover letter Minister Zappone sets out a number of points:
• Measures introduced this September will provide both universal and targeted subsidies towards the cost of childcare.
• Every child between the ages of 6 months and 36 months in Tusla-registered childcare services will be eligible for some level of childcare support.
• The child can be in full or part-time registered childcare. There will be no minimum number of hours and no maximum number of weeks for eligibility.
• The financial supports will be provided directly to Tusla registered childcare providers.
• Existing targeted childcare supports provided under the ommunity Childcare Subvention Scheme and the Training and Employment Childcare Scheme will be enhanced significantly, some by
up to 50%.
• All Tusla-registered childcare providers, community and private, can sign up to provide these Schemes.
Announcing the start of the information campaign Minister Zappone added:
“The countdown to More Affordable Childcare has begun. We are starting by getting the information to the dedicated staff who provide our services," she said.
A much wider campaign to promote the change to families gets underway in the coming weeks.
"This marks the first big step in our efforts to turn our childcare system from being one of the most expensive in the world, into one of the best," claimed the Minister.
Some €19m extra will be provided to families from September to the end of the year. Extra funding will be sought to address issues raised by childcare staff.