Children's Minister launches €4m childcare support campaign
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has announced that €4m worth of funding is being provided to improve childcare services for children of school going age.
The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, have launched the latest phase of a new campaign to make families aware of increased childcare supports available from next month.
The Government have announced that funding of €4m is being provided to improve childcare services for children of school going age and is expected to benefit up to 70,000 children from September.
Launching the campaign, the Taoiseach said that extra childcare support for parents going back to work or education will also be available:
"In just three weeks' time, up to 70,000 children will be able to register for a range of childcare subsidies put in place by the Government of Ireland to honour our commitment to make childcare more affordable for families. For the first time, a universal, non-means tested childcare subsidy will be available for children aged six months to three years.
This amounts to a maximum of €1,040 per year, for some the cost of one month of childcare. We will also be providing extra support for parents on lower incomes going back to work or education, providing as much as €145 per week towards the cost of their childcare."
The first two strands of this funding will create over 5,000 extra childcare places in 225 school age childcare services. Dr Katherine Zappone has said that a third strand will be announced in the coming weeks. The It Starts Now campaign is urging parents to check their children's entitlements on a site that has already recorded more than quarter of a million visits.
Minister Zappone admitted that Ireland has one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world:
"The first big step is being taken to accessible affordable quality childcare. Through our awareness campaign we are reaching out to parents and telling them how they can benefit from the extra €19m in family supports now just four weeks away.
There are two ways in which supports will be delivered. A universal support to every child aged six-months to three-years-old and then targeted supports for those families which need it most... This second category covers children up to 15-years of age.
Our childcare goals are ambitious. They have to be. I remain fully committed to work with parents and providers so we can finally turn one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world into the best."