Budget 2017: Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Statement by Dr Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
€1.3 billion investment in children and young people
Early Years Funding increases by 35% to €466m to allow new Affordable Childcare Scheme
Tusla allocation increases to over €713m
Tuesday 11th october, 2016
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, has announced that a 15% increase in funding has been secured for services to support children, young people and families in Budget 2017.
Announcing additional funding of €173m, bringing the total funding of her Department to over €1.3 billion Minister Zappone said:
“Budget 2017 has paved the way for a radical new approach to childcare, extra community youth services across the country and better funded supports for young people and families who need it most.
Since taking office I have prioritised the need to tackle child poverty. Today we have re-enforced that work by announcing a budget package which will deliver real change and benefit children and families every day.
In the coming 12-months I look forward to continuing my work with young people, parents and frontline services to ensure the money which has been secured will be used to deliver the best possible outcomes for all.”
Headline figures for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs include
• Increase of 35% for Early Years / Childcare Funding to €466m
• Tusla, the Child and Family Agency is receiving €713m
• An additional €5.5m for youth work programmes
• Funding to maintain all area based approach (ABC) sites in 2017
• Increased allocations to fulfil operational roles and statutory duties of the Office of the Ombudsman for Children and the Adoption Authority of Ireland
Announcing the measures the Minister added:
“In the coming weeks my Department and I will set out in greater detail our commitments and work programmes across all areas. I am of course keenly aware of the public, media and political debate on childcare which preceded the announcement of the Budget.
This Government continues to attach a very high priority to the work of Tusla – the Child and Family Agency. Tusla provides essential services to some of the most vulnerable children and families in our society. Budget 2017 provides Tusla with the necessary additional resources – some €37m - to continue with its ambitious programme of reform of services and to build an effective and responsive child protection and welfare system.”
A Scheme to Subsidise Childcare
A major policy priority for me in 2017 is the development of a new Single Affordable Childcare Scheme. This will replace existing childcare subsidisation schemes (excluding the free pre-school scheme) with a single, streamlined scheme from September 2017.
This new scheme is a major step in making childcare more affordable, and will enable both universal and targeted subsidies for parents towards their childcare costs.
Parents will qualify for a targeted subsidy based on their net income.
Subsidies will be available for children aged from 6 months up to 15 years and will meet families’ full-time childcare needs, including outside of school hours and during school holiday time.
The highest levels of subsidy will be provided to those on the lowest incomes, approx. €8,000 a year based on the maximum of 40-hours childcare a week. This will help families to overcome disadvantage and contribute to a reduction in child poverty.
International research confirms that access to high quality and affordable childcare is particularly important and beneficial for children from lower income families . It helps to prepare them for school and reduces inequality.
Households earning up to €47,500 net income will be able to avail of subsidised childcare. (See Note to Editors)I hope that future budgets will enable me increase this threshold year on year.
I am also delighted to announce a universal measure for parents of children aged from 6 months to three years. From September 2017 a universal subsidy of up to €80 per month will be provided towards childcare costs . This equates to over €900 per annum for parents working full time and will be paid pro-rata. This will be payable to childcare services registered with Tusla (this includes a small number of child-minders).
Alongside the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme development, additional funding in Budget 2017 enables the further roll out of the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE) which has been expanded from this September to cover all children from age three until they start in school. Parents now benefit from an average of 61 weeks of free pre-school, saving an average of €4000 on their childcare costs for each eligible child. Budget 2017 also enables full roll out of the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) to support children with disabilities attend mainstream pre-schools.
I am aware that almost 5000 childcare services are under pressure to deliver a variety of childcare programmes to an increasing number of children while complying with recently introduced regulations. This is placing a considerable administrative burden on services. Today I am confirming measures, supported by an investment of €14.5m, which will help ease that burden by paying for some non-contact time on top of existing capitation payments.
Through the recently established national Early Years Forum I will work in collaboration with all stakeholders to continue addressing the concerns of providers so that they can provide high quality services to children and families.
NOTE TO EDITORS
Subsidisation of Childcare
The maximum rate of subsidy will be payable to all those with net incomes up to €22,700 per annum. Based on estimated average childcare fees, this maximum subsidy might be expected to equate to a corresponding co-payment for parents of 30 cent per hour or €12 per week for 40 hours care. The rate of subsidy will taper downwards as net income rises, with no targeted subsidy payable when net income reaches €47,500.
The income thresholds increase where there are multiple children in a family, so a family with three children under 15 years would have a maximum net income threshold of €55,100.
It is envisaged that the scheme will cover all services which are registered with the Early Years Inspectorate of Tusla and which choose to participate in the scheme. This includes a small number of registered child-minders. It is hoped that, over time, more child-minders will be encouraged and supported to become registered and to participate in the new scheme.
The full year cost of the new scheme in 2018 will be €150m, or €44m in addition to the 2017 budget.
Case Studies (all based on current estimated average fee of €4.50 per hour)
A. Lone parent on net annual income of €22,700, with one child aged 2 years and in need of 40 hours of childcare per week
Under the existing targeted schemes, this family may have qualified for a subsidy of €95 per week and faced a corresponding co-payment of €85 per week.
Under the new scheme, this family will qualify for a weekly subsidy of €176 and might be expected to have a corresponding co-payment of €4.
B. Family with a net annual income of €25,000, with two children aged 1 and 2.5 years and in need of 25 hours of childcare per week
Under the existing targeted schemes, this family may have qualified for a subsidy of €47.50 per week for each child, giving a total subsidy of €95, with a corresponding co-payment of €130 per week.
Under the new scheme, this family will qualify for a weekly subsidy of €219 and might be expected to have a co-payment of €6.
C. Family with net annual income of €35,000, with two children aged 1 and 2.5 years and in need of 25 hours of childcare per week
Under the existing targeted schemes, this family may have qualified for a subsidy of €25 per week for each child, giving a total subsidy of €50, with a corresponding co-payment of €175 per week.
Under the new scheme, this family will qualify for a weekly subsidy of €157 and might be expected to have a co-payment of €68.
D. Family with net annual income of €47,500, with two children aged 2 years (40 hours childcare per week) and 5 years (17 hours out-of-school care per week)
Under the existing targeted schemes, this family is unlikely to have received any subsidy, and therefore had to pay the full fee of €256 per week. Under the new scheme, this family will qualify for a weekly subsidy of €54 and may have a co-payment of €202.
Supports for Childcare Providers
€14.5 m will be invested in Early Years services in 2017 to acknowledge the non-contact time required to deliver high quality services. Providers of the various Government childcare schemes will all benefit. Whilst existing rates of capitation paid for ECCE are expected to cover all costs associated with the scheme, ECCE services will be paid for an additional 1.4 weeks in 2017 and providers of the other schemes will receive a similar pro-rata payment. The average ECCE service which currently serves 25 children, will for example, receive an additional annual payment of approximately €1600.