Thursday 14 February 2019
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone has announced that the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme (CCS) will be merged with the Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP) schemeonce the current programme year comes to an end in August 2019. CCSP, which has been in place since 2016, has identical eligibility criteria, levels of service and band rates as CCS.
As a first step in transition to the new Affordable Childcare Scheme, from mid-August 2019 all Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) eligible children must be registered for the Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP) scheme. As CCSP has identical eligibility criteria, levels of service and band rates to CCS, this will have no impact on the levels of funding to parents.
Community childcare providers will be able to register children on the CCSP scheme for the 19/20 programme year up until the roll out of ACS, which will be mid October 2019. Up until the launch all current targeted childcare schemes, with the exception of CCS, which is being merged with CCSP with no loss of support to families, will remain in place for parents, allowing time for families to move over to ACS in a supported manner. Parents whose children have been registered on all the targeted schemes prior to the launch of ACS, can choose to remain on the schemes for the remainder of the programme year or transfer to ACS.
The move is one of a range of preparations being made for the launch of the Affordable Childcare Scheme (ACS) in October 2019. Once fully launched, ACS will replace the government’s targeted childcare schemes with one single scheme to provide financial assistance towards the cost of early learning and care and school age childcare to families in Ireland.
All the current targeted schemes will cease for the 2020/21 programme year.
Speaking on the decision Minister Zappone noted:
“2019 will be a landmark year as we launch our radical new approach to making childcare more affordable for families in Ireland. The CCS Plus scheme launched a number of years ago offers greater flexibility for families and childcare providers than the CCS scheme upon which it is based. This is a necessary part of the transition to the ACS. The funding that has been traditionally available to children, families and providers remains, and in fact Budget 2019 increased my childcare budget by €89m.”
If any early learning and care, or school age childcare service has a question or concern regarding the above announcement, please contact your local Childcare Committee which will be happy to assist. You can find the contact details for your local CCC by visiting www.myccc.ie
Frequently Asked Questions
Has there been any change to the amount of financial support available to parents or providers?
No. The rates of subvention for CCSP are identical to those in CCS. Therefore, no eligible child should be affected by this decision.
As a provider, do I have to sign up to CCSP?
Each childcare service decides which government subvention schemes it offers to parents of children in their care. CCS will no longer be available to offer from 17/08/2019, so services that are currently in contract for CCS and which wish to continue to offer these supports to families should instead contract to CCSP. The vast majority of CCS services are also contracted for CCSP.
When will ACS launch?
Minister Zappone has announced that ACS will open to applications in October 2019, with first payments commencing in November 2019. In advance of this, a nationwide series of information and training workshops will commence in April, with further training available in September. This will be complimented by online guides and resources to prepare services for the introduction of the new scheme. Additional Programme Support Payment funding will also be made available to assist providers with the transition. Further information is available at https://www.affordablechildcare.ie
What will happen in August/September 2019?
The current targeted schemes (CCSP, TEC (ASCC, CETS and CEC)) will all be available to parents with the exception of the CCS programme. Children registered on these schemes at that point in time can remain on them until the end of the 2019/20 programme year, or, transfer onto the new ACS from October if it is more advantageous for them (more information will follow in the coming months to assist parents and providers understand their entitlements and options.
Why is CCS closing?
The CCS programme is only available to Community Childcare Services whereas CCSP is available across all services (private and not for profit) and offers identical levels of supports. CCS registration operated on the basis of a snapshot period of 4 weeks. This typically started in late September / early October and ran through to late December/January once all necessary processing, appeals etc. were complete. Trying to administer this complex snapshot window process at the same time as opening ACS registration is unfeasible and risks confusion for providers, parents and administrators. By comparison, CCSP registrations can be processed on a much more flexible basis from programme opening as and when parents apply to a service.
I am a Community Childcare Service and I am worried about the potential effects of this announcement to my service, who can I talk to?
In the first instance we ask that you contact your local City/County Childcare Committee which will be happy to talk to you about what changes might arise for your service as a result of this announcement. You can find the contact details of your local CCC by visiting www.myccc.ie .
It is important to restate that funding for schemes remains unchanged, in fact, much of the €89 million in additional funding received in Budget 2019 for childcare is additional funding for CCS and CCSP.
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