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Update on School Aged Childcare

April 4, 2017

You will recall that the Action Plan on School Age Childcare was launched at the last Early Years Forum meeting on 6th March 2017. The Action Plan sets out the actions that the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Education and Skills need to undertake in order to deliver a child centred and effective model of school age childcare. DCYA is providing €3 million in major and minor capital grants to help establish new services as well as expanding and improving existing ones to provide high quality and affordable school age childcare. The new capital scheme will be open to both community/not-for-profit and private services and will comprise three separate strands. Strand A, for the establishment of new School Age Childcare services, will see a grant of up to €20,000 being made available. Strand B will see a grant of up to €10,000 being made available for the expansion of existing services to provide additional places. Strand C will see a grant of up to €5,000 being made available to existing services to improve quality. We understand from Pobal that the criteria and guidelines to apply for this new capital scheme will be published imminently and applications will open on Friday 7th April 2017.

An immediate priority for DCYA is the development of a comprehensive set of quality standards to specifically address the needs of school age children. According to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD, “a robust system of quality assurance against the standards will also be designed and will be a requirement to be eligible for any [future] State funding”. To this end, DCYA is establishing a Working Group on School Aged Childcare. ECI will sit on the Working Group. We will share further details about the Working Group as they become available. Plans are also in place to redesigned the Learner Fund to include dedicated funding each year for education on school age childcare.

While we wait for quality standards to be developed, services might be interested in Dublin City Childcare Committee’s 2010 research findings and other resources to offer a guide to good practice in planning for and operating a School-Age Childcare service.

 

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