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Childcare Support Bill published

Bill will underpin the new Affordable Childcare Scheme

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone hails Childcare Support Bill as “a cornerstone for our radical new approach to childcare”

Thursday 14th December, 2017

The Childcare Support Bill 2017 has been published and will proceed through the Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming weeks. The bill is an essential element in development of the Affordable Childcare Scheme, which will provide a new approach to supporting affordable access to quality childcare in Ireland.

Once launched, the Affordable Childcare Scheme will provide financial support to help reduce the cost of childcare for parents. Through this, it aims to improve access; assist families to return to work and training; reduce child poverty; and improve outcomes for children.

“The ambition of this project is huge in scale but is of vital importance to families throughout the country. The publication of the Childcare Support Bill represents a cornerstone for our radical new approach to childcare; changes that will not only benefit families now but also future generations” said Minister Zappone.

 “The publication of the bill builds on a lot of initiatives already delivered this year as we strive, step by step, to transform one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world into the best.  To date additional financial childcare supports have been delivered to the families of over 64,000 children, the innovative Access and Inclusion Model for children with disabilities is up and running and free pre-school education for all 3-year olds has been extended to two years from next September.”

In addition to the Childcare Support Bill, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs also today published a Regulatory Impact Analysis of the Affordable Childcare Scheme.

Full details of the Childcare Support Bill, the Policy Paper and the Regulatory Impact Analysis on the Affordable Childcare Scheme can be found by visiting  or
The Childcare Support Bill will now proceed through the Houses of the Oireachtas over the coming months. At the same time, preparatory work is continuing apace on the other major elements of the scheme, such as the development of ICT and administrative systems.


Note to Editors

The Affordable Childcare Scheme (ACS) was announced as part of Budget 2017 Measures. The ACS will amalgamate the government’s existing targeted childcare subvention schemes. It will contain both universal and enhanced supports for families that need it most, based on an assessment of income model. 

The Affordable Childcare Scheme will:
 - ensure that access to affordable childcare is not a barrier to labour market participation, including female labour market participation;
- promote positive child outcomes;
- narrow the gap in attainment between more and less advantaged children by enabling all children to access high quality, affordable childcare;
- drive quality across the sector and, crucially;
- through the above objectives, contribute to poverty reduction in Ireland.

The recent OECD Faces of Joblessness study examined the potential impact of the forthcoming Affordable Childcare Scheme on the affordability of childcare. The OECD has predicted that the Affordable Childcare Scheme could bring childcare costs in Ireland significantly closer to the OECD average.

For example, in the case of a lone parent working full-time at the 25th percentile of the full-time earnings distribution, whereas currently childcare costs in Ireland are the highest in the OECD, the OECD estimates that the Affordable Childcare Scheme will make childcare costs in Ireland the 12th highest in the OECD*.

*OECD (2017) Faces of Joblessness in Ireland: Main Results and Policy Inventory,, p.47.


Childcare Support Bill 2017

Childcare Suport Bill 2017 Explanatory Memo

Regulatory Impact Analysis of the Childcare Support Bill

Affordable Childcare Scheme Childcare Support Bill Frequently Asked Questions