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Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) or Free pre-school

In January 2010 a universally available preschool year was introduced.  All children aged more than 3 years 2 months and less than 4 years 7 months at 1 September in the relevant pre-school year were eligible for this scheme, which provides 3 hours a day for 38 weeks a year. The programme is provided in both community and private crèches and about 4,500 settings participate.

The free preschool programme has been phenomenally successful from the beginning.  About 95% of eligible children participate and have done so from the outset.  This participation rate is envied by other countries, and is a testament to the importance that Irish parents attach to education. From September 2016 the ECCE programme was expanded by reducing the age of eligibility to 3 years and by increasing the number of entry points to three throughout the programme year (September, January and April). This means that children can begin to avail of their free place on the pre-school programme as soon as possible after they reach the age of 3. This has seen an increase for children from 38 weeks (one programme year) of ECCE to, on average, 61 weeks of free pre-school. The upper age limit for the free pre-school programme is set at 5 years and 6 months, meaning that if a child is going to be older than 5 years and 6 months at the end of a pre-school year (i.e. end of June) they are not eligible to avail of free pre-school in that year.

Find out more about the free pre-school year

In June 2016 the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) was launched to accept applications for the pre-school year commencing in September 2016.  AIM is a model of supports designed to ensure that children with disabilities can access the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme.  Its goal is to empower pre-school providers to deliver an inclusive pre-school experience, ensuring that every eligible child can fully participate in the ECCE programme and reap the benefits of quality early years care and education.  AIM is a child-centred model, involving seven levels of progressive support, moving from the universal to the targeted, based on the needs of the child and the pre-school setting.

Find out more about the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM)

 

Budget 2018

FAQs on Early Years Budget 2018 changes

Athruithe ECCE 2018

 

Targeted schemes


Community Childcare Subvention Programme (CCS)


The Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) Programme is a childcare programme targeted to support parents on a low income to avail of reduced childcare costs at participating community childcare services. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) pays for a portion of the childcare costs for eligible children, a payment described in this document as a subvention payment, with the parent paying the remainder.

The CCS is only available through participating community not-for-profit childcare services. CCS subvention is available for 52 weeks of the year. The CCS programme covers the academic year, starting in September and finishing in August.  This is referred to as the Programme year.

Find out more about CCS

 

Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP)

The Community Childcare Subvention Plus(CCS Plus) Programme provides support for parents on a low income to avail of reduced childcare costs at participating privately owned childcare services and at community not-for-profit childcare services. It also provides access to a universal payment available to eligible children. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) pays a portion of the childcare costs for eligible children, (a subvention payment), with the parent paying the remainder.

The CCS Plus programme covers the academic year, starting in September and finishing in August.  This is referred to as the Programme call year.



Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (CSSR)

As per a government approval, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs supported a decision to increase Ireland’s resettlement quota to cater for up to 4,000 Programme Refugees. To support the Programme Refugees (PRs) in their resettlement and integration into Irish society, a key aspect identified was attendance on a language and orientation course.  The need to provide dedicated childcare funding was recognised to cover parents’ attendance.  Childcare funding was incorporated into the existing CCS and CCSP Programmes to enable parents to attend a language and orientation course within their reception centre for 8 weeks and then a full year following their move into the community (i.e. 60 weeks in total) at a flat rate of €95 per week, for part-time childcare (up to 5 hours per day), over 4 days per week for each approved child (all preschool children aged 0 – 5yrs and school aged children 6 – 12yrs for primary school holidays periods only) for the eligible duration of their childcare place.



Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (Transitional) (CSSR(T))

As part of the “Rebuilding Ireland – an Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness”, DCYA has launched a special provision under the current Community Childcare Subvention Programme (entitled CCSR (Transitional), which provides access to free childcare for children of families experiencing homelessness. The provision provides subvention for all pre-school children, including those of ECCE eligible age range aged 0-5 inclusive.  The scheme is also designed to help those transitioning from homelessness to permanent accommodation.


Training and Employment Childcare (TEC)

The TEC Programme is an overarching childcare programme specifically designed to support parents on eligible training courses and also certain categories of parents returning to work, by providing subsidised childcare places. The TEC Programme provides childcare support for parents on certain education and training courses (CETS), parents working on Community Employment programmes (CEC), and also for families on Family Income Support (ASCC).

Find out more about TEC

follow us on twitter skills to work Supporting SMEs http://whodoeswhat.gov.ie/ 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