Minister Zappone welcomes response to the National Childcare Scheme

Please see the following press release from DCYA

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, has welcomed the response to the National Childcare Scheme.

Since the Scheme launched on Wednesday 20 November, 15,859 applications have been received for 24,133 children. To date, the parents of 20,749 children have been informed of what they are entitled to and many of them have accessed these subsidies.

Speaking of the applications received and awards made, Minister Zappone stated:

“I am delighted with the response to the National Childcare Scheme. The parents of over 20,700 children have been informed of their entitlement and many have accessed it. I would like to see these numbers continue to grow, and I encourage parents to visit our website for more information on what they may be eligible for and how to apply.”

Using a verified MyGovID account, families can apply directly for subsidies at Subsidies can then be used with any participating, Tusla registered early learning and care and school aged childcare service, including Tusla registered childminders. The Scheme’s purpose-built IT system aims to process a universal application in a matter of minutes, and an income assessed application in a matter of days.

On the application process, Minister Zappone noted:

“As with any new and highly innovative Scheme, the initial volume of applications has been high and we hope to see this continue. There are a range of helpful resources for families on our website, and we have extended the opening hours of the National Childcare Scheme Parent Support Centre from 8.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Saturday.”

Further information and resources for parents are available at


Notes to the Editor:

National Childcare Scheme (NCS)

The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) is Ireland’s pathway to quality, accessible, affordable early learning and care and school aged childcare. The Scheme will replace the existing targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and more user-friendly scheme, and will include ‘wraparound’ care for pre-school and school-age children.

The National Childcare Scheme will:

  • improve outcomes for children and support lifelong learning
  • reduce poverty
  • facilitate labour market activation
  • tangibly reduce the cost of childcare in Ireland for tens of thousands of families
  • provide a mechanism for Government to support improved quality through increased investment

National Childcare Scheme Sponsor Referral

The National Childcare Scheme makes special arrangements for some children and families to be sponsored by certain public bodies so they can get childcare under the NCS. Families with high levels of need, who require childcare for child welfare, child protection or family support reasons, may be referred for childcare support by a specified “Sponsor Body”. Where such a referral is made, the family will automatically qualify for a subsidy for the number of hours considered appropriate by the Sponsor Body without having to satisfy the scheme’s eligibility, income or enhanced hours requirements. The Scheme will cover the cost of the sponsored childcare, with no requirement for any parental co-payment.

The five statutory bodies specified as sponsors in the Childcare Support Act 2018, and the specific groups of children who will benefit, are:

  • Minister for Education and Skills – for teen parents who are still in education or training
  • Minister for Justice and Equality – for refugees and asylum seekers, to enable parents’ participation in education, integration and other relevant supports
  • Tusla, Child and Family Agency – to promote the welfare of children, either where there is a child protection concern, or as a form of early intervention or family support
  • HSE – to support child development for children who are below the age for participation in ECCE and where there is an identified need for childcare as a developmental support for the child
  • Local Authorities – to support homeless persons with children that are homeless or moving out of homelessness to access childcare services

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