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Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme



Rules for DCYA Funding Programmes 2017/2018






ECCE 'Grant Funding Agreement' 2016/17 Now Available to Read/Download

The Contracting process for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) Childcare Funding Programmes will begin shortly for the 2016-2017 ‘Programme Call’. The process this year will differ from previous years as it will be carried out by service providers on PIP.   Please see the PIP Homepage for a summary of the contracting timeline and 'next steps' for the online contracting process.

You may now download the ECCE 'Grant Funding Agreement' for the 2016/17 Programme Call (As Gaeilge).  This will be the document that Primary Authorised Users (those legally responsible for the childcare services) will see on PIP when they are submitting online applications to provide the ECCE Programme.

Please note:  Changes to the ECCE Grant Funding Agreement may be made at the discretion of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.  Any such changes will be updated immediately on this webpage with clear notification of the changes made."

Please note: the following text has been added as of 13 July 2016: 5.5 This Agreement shall not affect any other agreements which may already be in place between the Registered Provider and the Grantor/Pobal in respect of capital funding.


Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, has introduced a new model to enable children with disabilities to access and fully participate in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)  Programme.

The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a child-centred model, involving seven levels of progressive support, moving from universal to the targeted, based on the needs of the child and the pre-school provider.  Further information is available at Access Inclusion Model website and Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) - Information and Contact Leaflet.



The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs recently wrote to all early years service providers in January 2016 advising them to ensure that all of their staff members working directly with children were fully aware of the fact that the new Child Care Regulations (which will be published shortly) will require all such staff to hold a minimum qualification of Level 5 or equivalent by 31st December 2016, and to advise that any unqualified staff members should commence training as soon as possible – availing of the Learner Fund as appropriate. Copies of the letters are here.


The age criteria for the current and coming pre-school year is as follows in relation to the ECCE Programme:

Guides to ECCE Programme  2016

DCYA Childcare Funding Programmes Information and Frequently Asked Questions.

RLGÓ Cláir Chistithe Cúram Leanaí Faisnéis agus Ceisteanna Coitianta.


Supporting Documentation





Please see our section on Qualifications for more information.


Minimum ECCE Enrolment Exemptions

In certain circumstances a service may receive an exemption from the minimum number of ECCE children required per session for an ECCE contract. For more information and how to apply please see our information document and application form.

ECCE Higher Capitation for Service Provider

Higher Capitation will be paid for individual ECCE Sessions where the ECCE Room leader holds a qualification recognised as meeting the minimum contract requirements for ECCE (“Higher Cap”) as set out on the published list of ‘Early Years Recognised Qualifications’, (or must otherwise be deemed eligible by the DCYA), and have a minimum of 3 years’ experience working in the childcare sector.  Services that have multiple ECCE sessions, but only one/some with a Room Leader with the necessary higher capitation qualification can avail of higher capitation funding for the part(s) of their service delivered by the ECCE Room leader(s).

For more information see:

Higher Capitation rules and Q&A 2017-2018 ECCE Year.

ECCE Higher Capitation Rate Application Form.

ECCE Higher Capitation Staff Amendment Form.

ECCE Higher Capitation Room Amendment Form.


Contact Details:

ECCE Section,
Early Years Policies and Programmes,
Department of Children and Youth Affairs,
43-49 Mespil Road,
Dublin 4, D04 YP52
Tel: 01 6473000
Fax: 01 6473224


Sonraí Teagmhála:

An Rannóg ECCE,
Polasaithe agus Cláir na Luathbhlianta,
An Roinn Leanaí agus Gnóthaí Óige,
43-49 Bóthar Mespil,
Baile Átha Cliath 4, D04 YP52
Teil: 01 6473000
Facs: 01 6473224

follow us on twitter skills to work Supporting SMEs Be Winter Ready The Better Start Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a model of supports designed to ensure that children with disabilities can access the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme