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Extra spaces and fire-safety priorities for Childcare Investment in 2019
 
Providers urged to prepare applications for €9m capital fund

“Investment marks start of hugely important year for children, parents and providers as countdown to the Affordable Childcare Scheme continues”

 

Friday 28th December 2018 

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, TD is pleased to announce the priorities for 2019’s Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital programmes. The Minister has secured €9m for capital grants across 2019.

The budget for the Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital programmes has been set at €6.106m.

A further announcement with details of an additional €3m to be associated with the new Affordable Childcare Scheme will issue early in 2019.

The programmes will be open for applications from early learning and care and school age childcare services in February 2019.
 
Capital funding under the programmes will be delivered under the following three strands:

Strand A:  Creation of new places for 0-3 year olds - €4.231m (max. €50,000 per grant).
Strand B:  Fire Safety for community early learning and care services – €0.875m, (max. €15,000 per grant).
Strand C:  Creation of new school age places - €1m (max. €20,000 per grant).

The focus of the funding in 2019 is to continue the expansion of early learning and care places for 0-3 year olds and school age childcare places where this is most needed.
    
Funding is also being made available to aid community/not-for-profit early learning and childcare services in addressing fire safety issues that have been highlighted in inspection reports.

Commenting on the launch of the Capital Fund, Minister Zappone said: - 

“2019 is going to be one of the most significant years in our efforts to transform one of the most expensive childcare services in the world into the best. The final groundwork is now being put in place ahead of the launch of the Affordable Childcare Scheme next October.

Across the year I am delighted to have secured more than €9 million in Capital Funding for early learning and care and school age services. Now I can confirm a first round of investment totalling €6.106m.  We will start this funding process early in the year to give more time for applications and implementation. More children than ever in the history of the state are accessing government funded subsidies for early learning and care and I am mindful of the pressures and opportunities that this can create for the sector. 

In the recent Pobal Annual Sector Profile, almost a quarter of all services indicated their intention to expand in the next 12-months, creating over 15,000 additional spaces for children nationwide. The Government is ready to assist in creating additional capacity at a time of rapid expansion and transformation.

Since 2015 Government investment in childcare is up 117%. Now it is time to take the next big leap as we prepare for the Affordable Childcare Scheme to become a reality which will benefit children, parents and providers for generations to come.”

Further information on the application process, including detailed application guidelines, will be made available to services in January 2019. 

Childcare providers are encouraged to contact their local City/County Childcare Committee to answer any questions they may have.