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This week’s Interdepartmental Report – What does it mean?

July 24, 2015

The Government released an Interdepartmental report this week entitled: “Future Investment in Childcare in Ireland”. While this report comes from Government it does not commit to any set course of action. What the report does is outline a range of options for future Governmental investment.

We have summarised the proposals Government are considering below but it is important to remember that none of this is actual government policy. The earliest indication we will have of which of the options will be acted on is the Budget in October when we will learn how much the Government are willing to invest in Early Childhood.

This report is a welcome development and it is good to see Government considering options such as paid parental leave and an extension to the Free Preschool Year. But these are no more than considerations. It very much remains to be seen how much the Government will invest in our sector and on what exactly they will spend the money.

It is paramount that we keep the pressure on Government in coming months to ensure that Government put their money where their mouth is. Remember these are options for the Government to consider if we receive funding in Budget 2016. Early Childhood Ireland will be inviting all members to regional meetings to discuss how each one of us can lobby our families, parents, local politicians and TD’s to support our sector for future investment.

Date:                    Mid-September 2015     

Topic:                  Ways to lobby for our sector

Venues:               Regional venues to be confirmed


We released a Response to the Report earlier this week which you may be interested to read.

Download the Full Report here


Synopsis of Investment Options Report Considers


Here is a synopsis of the future investment options the report considers. The Report is broken into three strands: Affordability, Accessibility and Quality.



  1. Six months paid parental leave for parents of children aged 6 – 12 months which can be taken by either parent following the paid maternity leave timeframe.


  1. An extension of the ECCE scheme:

Allowing children access the scheme from the age of 3 until they start primary school
Allowing children access the scheme from the age of 3 ½ until the child goes to primary school.
(It is for Government to decide the age at which a child can access the scheme.)

This would mean parents will have the choice to send their child to school when they choose as long as the child is not older than 5 ½. For example if a child entered the scheme aged 3 ½ and goes to school aged 5 ½ they will receive 2 years of the ECCE scheme.

Access to the scheme will be open throughout the year

Introduction of non- contact time: one hour per week per child (with an unspecified maximum number of hours allowed)

Capitation rate options:

  • Existing rate basic €62.50 higher €73 per week
  • Restored rate basic €64.50 higher €75 per week
  • Potential new rate basic €67.50 higher €82.50 per week


  1. Introduction of one childcare subvention scheme (to replace CCS and TEC) open to both private and community settings:
  • Option of subsidised childcare costs for all working families
  • Subsidies in all cases will depend on income level
  • Subsidised costs will be available for up to 40 hours per week per child
  • For school aged children up to 20 hours per week during school term and 40 hours outside the term
  • Subsidised childcare for low income families who participate in education, training or work
  • Subsidised childcare for families who have been identified as being in need of additional supports and where there is a concern for the child’s welfare.



  1.  Address the issues of oversupply and undersupply by predicting and assessing the future demand for both early childhood care and education and after-school care. Exploring the possible use of schools and the youth sector for future after-school care.
  2. Review planning guidelines.
  3. Develop standards of care, self-assessed standards and inspections for after-school care.



  1. Carry out an audit of quality in the early childhood care and education sector.
  2. Extend the Learner Fund for professional development including the roll out of an Aistear Síolta Practice Guide programme.
  3. Extend the Early Years Quality Support Service Better Start, which includes professionalising the sector, CCC and VCOs mentoring, settings participating in Síolta Quality Assurance Programme.
  4. Introduce quality standards or regulation for childminders.
  5. Enhance existing inspection processes.
  6. Support parents to assess and demand quality.


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