Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) or Free pre-school
In January 2010 a universally available preschool year was introduced. This has since been expanded to a two-year programme. The programme is provided in both community and private crèches and about 4,500 childcare settings currently participate in the programme. The ECCE programme is a universal two-year pre-school programme available to all children within the eligible age range. It provides children with their first formal experience of early learning prior to commencing primary school. The programme is provided for three hours per day, five days per week over 38 weeks per year and the programme year runs from September to June each year. There will be one point of entry at the beginning of the programme year from this September 2018. The programme will be available to all children who have turned 2 years and 8 months before September as long they won’t turn 5 years and 6 months at any point during the pre-school year. Childcare services taking part in the ECCE scheme must provide an appropriate pre-school educational programme which adheres to the principles of Síolta, the national framework for early years care and education
Find out more about the free pre-school year
The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) was launched in June 2016 with children benefitting from these supports from 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.
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 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.
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. 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 year.
Community Childcare Subvention Universal (CCSU)
As part of the Government policy to make childcare more affordable, the DCYA has introduced a universal childcare subvention payment of up to €20 per week for families using eligible childcare providers for the care of children aged from 6 months to the first eligible point of entry to the ECCE scheme. This scheme is administered via an enhancement to the CCS scheme.
Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (CSSR)
As per government policy, the Government of Ireland increased 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, the need to provide dedicated childcare funding was recognised. Childcare funding for this cohort was incorporated into the existing CCS and CCSP Programmes to enable parents to be free to attend a language and orientation course within their reception centre for eight weeks and then for a full year following their move into the community (i.e. 60 weeks in total).
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) Programmes
The objective of the TEC Programmes is to support parents on eligible training courses and eligible categories of parents returning to work, by providing subsidised childcare places.
The TEC Programmes are:
Childcare Education and Training Support programme (CETS)
The CETS Programme formerly catered for FAS and VEC training course participants and now provides childcare on behalf of the Local Education and Training Boards and Secondary Schools.
After-School Child Care programme (ASCC)
The ASCC is administered on behalf of the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and provides afterschool care for primary school children for certain categories of working parents and parents on DSP employment programmes (not including Community Employment).
Community Employment Childcare programme (CEC)
The CEC is administered on behalf of the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and provides childcare for children of parents who are participating on Community Employment schemes.