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ACS 52-week Model

January 10, 2017

Following Early Childhood Ireland advocacy, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD, is to replace the proposed 48-week funding model with a 52-week funding model under the new Affordable Childcare Scheme.

Early Childhood Ireland is delighted to announce that the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD, has acted on our concerns about the proposed 48-week funding model under the new Affordable Childcare Scheme (ACS) and has committed to instead introducing a 52-week funding model.

Since the publication of the Department of Children & Youth Affairs’ Policy Paper on the Development of a new Affordable Childcare Scheme in October 2016, ECI has worked intensively to ensure that the scheme, when commenced, represents a move toward a model of childcare in Ireland that can deliver: the best quality care and education for children in the most formative years of their development; viability and sustainability for both early childhood services and their staff; and access and affordability for parents to childcare facilities and services.

Following a series of regional consultations with members, a number of issues emerged as serious and immediate concerns, including:

  • The proposed 48-week funding model
  • Hourly subsidy and hourly fee for childcare
  • Assumptions around parents’ access to and competency with computers/technology
  • Administrative burden for services
  • Requirement of providers to police absences and changes in childcare provision
  • Inadequate cost model from the outset


A delegation made up of ECI staff and representatives from our Members’ Policy and Implementation Panel met with the Department on 8th December 2016 where the above-mentioned concerns were discussed in detail; particularly the 48-week funding model proposed in the Policy Paper, which was the most acute concern of members. In the words of one member: 

“Full day care facilities charge for 52 weeks because wages, business loans, rates etc are paid for 52 weeks. As with ECCE, parents interpret the schemes as presented by Government and cannot understand why they have to pay for the other weeks, objecting in many cases. This exerts pressure on services towards a 48-week model, further reducing their income and sustainability.”
-Gillian Murphy, Nourrice Crèche

In our discussions, ECI stressed the importance of fully incorporating the voice, opinion, and input of the sector into the development of the scheme and we commend Minister Zappone for her understanding and action on this issue in the interests of sustainability for services and staff. We will keep you posted as further details of the funding model emerge and we will of course continue to advocate strongly on your outstanding issues of concern.

For more information, please see our initial response on ACS.

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