2nd October 2020 – COVID-19 Sustainability Support Fund – Application Guidelines

The purpose of the COVID-19 Sustainability Support grant is to support the sustainability of Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) services whose viability is negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, by providing funding to offset losses caused by a decrease in occupancy and/or an increase in costs. Sustainability will be supported by providing a grant proportionate to the short-term level of loss in 2020 that the service has demonstrated through the information provided on the application form.

The COVID-19 Sustainability Support grant recognises that the cost of delivering services for ELC and SAC providers may be higher due to adherence to public health guidelines and combined with the financial impact of lower occupancy may result in some services becoming temporarily financially unsustainable. This grant will ensure that services remain open without increasing their Registered Fees to parents or guardians.

Guidelines can be downloaded here: Application Guidelines COVID-19 Sustainability Support Fund 2020

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23rd September: Changes to HSE Covid-19 Assessment Testing and Management Pathway Document

Please note that we have been advised by the HSE of some changes to their assessment testing and management pathway documents.
The changes are:

  • The self-isolation period for cases of COVID-19 has now changed from 14 days to a minimum of 10 days, the last 5 of which should be free of fever
  • Nasal swabs are now listed as an acceptable specimen type for use when testing children
  • For the households of all patients (adults and children) with symptoms who are being tested for COVID-19,  the whole household must restrict movements until the results of the test are know
  • For those aged over 13 years who have some respiratory tract infection symptoms but who but do not fit the criteria for testing for COVID-19,  patients are now advised to stay at home and self-isolate for a minimum of 48 hours from the resolution of   symptoms. (This is a reduction from the 14 days in the previous version)
  • If a child with COVID-19 cannot be isolated at home and there is an ongoing exposure risk, household contacts should restrict movements for 17 days from the onset of symptoms in the case (or date of test if the confirmed case was asymptomatic).

The updated pathways are attached, and are also available on the HPSC website at https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/algorithms/

Guidance for the Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) sector will be amended, as required, to reflect the changes outlined above.

Please also be aware that the Department continues to engage with the HSE and the Department of Education and Skills to ensure that the approaches to management of Covid-19 in the Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) sector are aligned to that of the schools. There is currently no automatic rapid testing in place for either sector. Local public health departments will decide on a case by case basis how testing should be conducted.

26th June  –

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs is very conscious of the stress and additional burden the closure period and preparations for re-opening have put on you as providers but also on your staff and the parents and children who use your service. We have endeavoured throughout this period to assist you, initially in sustaining your service through the closure period and, more recently, in making preparations for reopening. You will already be familiar with the extensive guidance and support material available to you through the First 5 Website.

In acknowledgement of the current pressures, and the need to work within public health advice, both the Tusla Early Years Inspectorate and the Department of Education and Skills Inspectorate are providing an update on how they intend to work with services who are opening from June 29th onwards.

In line with the agreement to coordinate and streamline communications to the sector on inspection processes, announced by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in January, attached here are communications from the two inspectorates, which have also been published today on the websites of the two bodies.

In addition to previous guidance issued (available on the DCYA and Tusla websites) and in order to assist providers, both Inspectorates have provided new documentation to explain their approach to inspections in the coming weeks and months. You will find that documentation attached here, including:

If you have any specific queries on the content of the attached documents or the conduct of inspections, please make contact with the relevant inspectorate.

Pobal CAR/the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will provide an update to providers in the coming weeks on resumption of compliance visits.

23rd June – Capital Guidelines

On 10 June 2020, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs announced a major funding
package to facilitate the reopening of early learning and care (ELC) and school-age childcare
(SAC) services. In accordance with the Government Roadmap for Reopening Society and
Business, and guided by the expert advice of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre
(HSPC), ELC and SAC services can begin to resume from 29th June, 2020.
The purpose of the COVID-19 Capital Grant (€14.2m) is to contribute towards the capital costs
associated with the reopening of Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC)
Services because of the easing of some of the government restrictions imposed as a result of the
pandemic.

Click on the guidelines to read more: COVID-19 Capital 2020 Grant Guidelines 23.06.20

 

23rd June – Annual Early Years Service Profile 2017/2018 – DEADLINE: 5pm Friday 26th June

The deadline for submitting this year’s Early Years Service Profile is 5pm, Friday 26th June.

This year’s survey will be essential for helping Government understand the impacts of COVID-19 on the early years sector. Now more than ever, it is essential that planning and investment are informed by real, on-the-ground data and that services continue to have a voice in Government decision-making. We are very grateful for your participation during this challenging time.

Where can I access the survey?

On PIP: Under My Services, click on View details for relevant DCYA Ref (if more than one service). Under Service Details, on right hand side of the page, click Service Profile Survey

On EYP: On the Early Years Portal homepage, click Service Profile Survey on the right side of the page.

Are guidelines available for filling out the form?

The Early Years Service Profile Guidelines 2019/2020 provides helpful tips for completing your survey.

You can also find these guidelines and a list of FAQs in the How to Guides section in PIP Resources or on Hive in the survey launch announcement.

Who do we contact for help?

If your service has any questions about the Early Years Service Profile, please contact the Early Years Provider Centre at EYPC@pobal.ie.


22nd June – TWSCS Application Form Amendment Window and Payments Breakdown

As per the DCYA winding down notice last week, the TWSCS will be ending on 28th June. The closing date to submit a Funding Agreement is Friday, June 26th and the closing date for applications is 1st July with final payments being made on week ending 10th July up until 17th July.

In advance of this, please be aware that the following will be available to services on the Early Years Hive as of today.

TWSCS application amendments

Those who need to make changes to a previously submitted/calculated TWSCS application form can do so from today (22nd June) until 5pm on 30th June. Examples of changes that can now be made include:

  • Viewing employees’ information
  • Editing employees’ information
  • Removing employees’ information
  • Adding new employees
  • Updating services’ average gross weekly payroll figure – as per original guidance, providers were requested to divide the total gross pay value by 9 for all childcare staff for January and February.

Please see the accompanying Amending a TWSCS Application Form + Viewing Payment Calculation Guide guidance document for detailed instruction on how to make such amendments. It is very important to review this document first before making changes, to ensure the correct steps are being taking for the each task and to ensure the application is resubmitted correctly.

If there is no issue with your application, it is not necessary to make any changes and resubmit the form. Please note that any changes made to a TWSCS application may impact funding received from the scheme.

TWSCS payment calculations

Services will now be able to view a breakdown of their TWSCS payment calculations on the Early Years Hive. To view this, navigate to the Resources tab and then go to Wage Subsidy Scheme (Payments) on the dropdown. Please see the above mentioned document for further guidance on this page.

Most services will be able to view the details of their payment calculations on this page. Providers whose submitted application information was queried, a preliminary payment was made and their payment calculations will be available here at a later date, however they can see their payment values on PIP in the interim.

Note: the calculations displayed on this page will not yet include the final week of the scheme (starting 22nd June). Services should review this page after final payments have been made to view final calculations. We are aware of some issues with April calculations, rest assured that this will also be fixed for the final calculation.

If you have any queries, please contact the Early Years Provider Centre at eypc@pobal.ie or raise a service request on the Early Years Hive.


15th June – The Early Years Service Profile 2019/20 is now LIVE on the PIP and Hive portals

Introduction

The 2019/2020 Early Years Service Profile is the primary data source on the Irish early learning and care and school-age childcare sector. It is developed and published by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

The Annual Early Years Service Profile, which has been running for over 17 years, plays a central role in informing policy development and assessing the impact of policy change. It provides comprehensive national analysis of over 4,500 early learning and care and school-age childcare services throughout Ireland on key issues, such as capacity, staff and costs.

The continuation of this survey in 2020 is more important than ever given the challenges COVID-19 have presented for this sector, and the information you provide will be essential for future policy development as well as short term emergency planning. It will also ensure that we maintain an accurate, up-to-date and evidence-based profile of the early learning and care and school-age childcare sector in Ireland, and that we can capture a profile of services before the COVID-19 closures in March. This means that, in time, when the survey rolls out again, we can objectively assess the impact of COVID-19 on individual services and on the sector as a whole.

 

COVID-19 Notice

This survey covers the period up to the closure of early learning and care and school-age childcare services on 12th March 2020. All responses (including staff details, wages and fees) should therefore reflect how the service was operating up to this date.

Pobal and the DCYA appreciate you taking the time to complete this survey, which has been shortened this year to include only the most critical information needed for Government policy and planning. We understand that the sector is experiencing unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, and that their focus is placed on working towards the phased reopening of services in line with the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. We also acknowledge and sincerely thank the services for their participation in the recent survey, which was rolled out to inform plans on reopening.

About the survey

This annual survey is developed and published by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. The content of the survey is also informed by a stakeholder consultation, which was conducted in partnership with the Early Years Forum.

The data collected will allow for in-depth analysis of the sector across a range of headings including:

  • Service detail and provision
  • Capacity and attendance
  • Staffing (numbers, qualifications, staffing retention, level of turnover etc.)

By providing the most up-to-date national data on the sector, we are able to support a range of key stakeholders in their planning and analysis. For instance, data may be shared with:

  • Government Departments (e.g. Department of Education and Skills, Early Years Inspectorate)
  • Organisations conducting research and analysis on behalf of Government Departments
  • Statutory agencies (e.g. Túsla Early Years Inspectorate)
  • Better Start Early Years Specialist Service
  • City/County Childcare Committees
  • Local Authorities (to inform local planning and development priorities)

Summary data will also be provided to the following organisations for research and statistical purposes:

  • Voluntary Childcare Organisations
  • Central Statistics Office
  • OECD
  • Third Level Institutions

Data from this survey may also be combined with findings from other surveys of the early learning and care and school-age childcare sector conducted on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

We have made every effort to keep the survey concise and relevant. Only questions that relate to key policy and planning priorities are included in the survey.

Completing the Survey:

A service profile should be completed for each facility i.e. one for each DCYA reference number.

How long will it take to complete the service profile?

The length of time it takes to complete the survey depends on the size of the service, the number of staff and number of children enrolled. It is expected to take approximately one hour. The survey will save so you can complete it in more than one sitting before final submission.

Why does the survey look different to previous years?

This year’s survey was developed on a new platform and so the layout and format of some questions has been changed.

Can I complete the service profile through Irish?

Based on feedback from the sector, we had intended to offer the service profile through Irish this year. This unfortunately has not been possible due to resource constraints arising from COVID-19. Pobal and the DCYA continue to work towards this goal for future years.

When is it due?

The deadline for completing the survey is 5pm, Friday 26th June.

Who can we contact for assistance?

If you experience any difficulties accessing or completing this survey, please contact the Early Years Provider Centre at EYPC@pobal.ie. While we are unable to accept calls at the moment due to COVID-19 constraints, we can arrange a call back for you at a time that suits

Early Years Team


15th June 2020 – Letter from Early Years Division

Please see attached letter from Early Years Division in relation to the winding down of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (TWSCS) following the planned reopening of the childcare sector on June 29 that issued to ELC & SAC providers today, for your information.

Letter to providers 15062020


12th June – Reopening FAQ and funding Package

Please find attached information on the Funding Package available to support Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare (ELC and SAC) to reopen from 29 June.

Reopening FAQs on Reopening Funding v1

The Government has provided a substantial funding package, with supports for reopening costs, wage costs, and capital costs alongside the resumption of ELC and SAC subsidy schemes. The funding recognises the important role that the ELC and SAC sector plays in the economic and societal infrastructure of the country.

The attached FAQs are intended to provide clarity on how this funding package will work. These FAQs aim to be informative but may be added to and/or amended as more information becomes available. The Department will also be keeping track of any queries we receive and clarify any areas of uncertainty in an updated FAQ if necessary.

As always, your local CCCs will be available to offer support. Please do not hesitate to contact them if you require assistance with interpreting or applying for any element of the new funding package.

Kind regards,

Early Years Division.

DCYA.


10th June – Press Release DCYA

Please see the below Press Release from Minister Katherine Zappone announcing a funding package of €75m for Reopening Early Learning and Childcare Services from 29 June

Press release funding model 10 June 2020

Also please find below a message from Minister Zappone to the childcare sector

https://youtu.be/qksf6NJJens


9th June – Access and Inclusion Model, (AIM) programme for 2020/2021 is now open

Access and Inclusion Model (AIM)

The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) provides a range of supports to enable children with a disability to meaningfully participate in the ECCE preschool programme (www.aim.gov.ie). Parents/carers/legal guardians and preschool providers make AIM applications jointly, through an on-line system.

New Application for AIM 2020/21

New applications for Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) support for 2020/21 are now open. Please note, although the AIM application system is open and in light of public health guidance, the delivery of AIM supports are dependent on the timing and nature of the re-opening of the ECCE programme for 2020/21. Further detail on this will be made available by the DCYA in due course.

If your child is due to start the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme in September 2020 please contact the preschool that your child will attend. The pre-school provider in partnership with you as the parent/carer/legal guardian can consider and apply for one or more targeted supports under Levels 4-7 of the model. You can find more information about the targeted supports under the AIM Programme at https://aim.gov.ie/for-parents/

If your child is currently availing of AIM supports and is moving to another pre-school in September 2020/21 a new AIM application will need to be submitted to the new pre-school provider.

In light of the Covid-19 restrictions, a number of adaptations to the AIM application process have been made to allow applications to be processed during this time. The application process will outline this and your pre-school provider will be able to talk you through these adaptations.


6th June – ECCE 2020/21 on the Early Years Hive

This year the ECCE Programme will be managed on the Early Years Hive, and all ECCE Programme related activities must be completed https://earlyyearshive.ncs.gov.ie/

All service providers offering the ECCE Programme for the 2020-2021 programme year must complete every step of the on boarding process on the Hive before they can begin the ECCE readiness process. This means that each service provider must have an Early Years Hive account.  Quick Guides and videos are available on the Early Years Hive to assist services with this process.

Once the on-boarding process is completed, Service Providers must also complete the ECCE specific readiness steps before a programme application can be submitted.  A Quick Guide on completing the ECCE readiness steps is available https://earlyyearshive.ncs.gov.ie/useful-links/for assistance with this process. A separate Quick Guide is available to assist you with completing the ECCE Fees List and Service Calendars on the Early Years Hive.

DCYA ECCE Programme Rules for 2020/21 will be made available shortly.

Early Years Team


5th June – DCYA Announcement regarding the launch of a range of online resources and guidance to support service provider​

Today the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has launched a range of online resources and guidance to support service providers, practitioners and parents to prepare for the reopening of Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare settings, including childminders. The https://first5.gov.ie/practitioners/reopening webpage is available on the First 5 website https://first5.gov.ie/practitioners/reopening.

Some resources are already published, and others will be added in the coming days and weeks. The web-page will be regularly updated, so please check back. Irish-language resources will be available in the coming days.

Acknowledging that sometimes the volume of information available can feel overwhelming and hard to manage, the new webpage aims to make it easy for you to navigate and find the information and guidance you need.

The Department would like to thank the many organisations that have developed and given advice on these resources and guidance. The webpage notes some resources that are still being developed and will be available soon. If there is further guidance you feel you need, please let us know through your representative organisation or local City/County Childcare Committee.


5th June – Extension of DCYA Provider Survey: Update 5th June 2020

The completion date for the DCYA Provider Survey has been extended to close of business Wednesday, 10th June. For those Early Learning and Care Providers who have not completed the survey, a link to the survey will be sent by email, together with a guidance note, in time for completion by Wednesday the 10th of June.

A draft text copy of the survey is attached below please note this copy is for information only and cannot be submitted.

Provider Survey-Services Open Closed in July Aug FINAL

Please see the Technical Guidance Note 28.5 for more information. For all other queries, please email eypc@pobal.ie.


4th June – TWSCS Payments​

Please be aware that this week’s payments have been made to all services who submitted the TWSCS funding agreement and an application form by Tuesday, 2nd June.

Applications ‘In Review’

Any providers whose applications are still in review will receive a further preliminary payment for one week. These providers can still make changes to the application form. Please refer to Step 6 – Reviewing a submitted Application Form on how to edit and resubmit the form in the Application Guidance Document.

Applications ‘Calculated’

Any providers whose applications have been calculated will receive payments based on the information in the application form, and should receive a further two weeks payment to 19th June. Preliminary payments paid to date will have been reconciled against the actual payment due. Where an overpayment is identified in this reconciliation, no payment will be issued this week. If your application has a status of ‘Calculated’ on the Early Years Hive then changes cannot be made until a later date, which will be communicated in due course.

A payment breakdown view will be available for service providers on the Early Years Hive at the end of June.

If you have any queries, please email eypc@pobal.ie or raise a service request on the Hive.


3rd June – Press Release from DCYA

Please see the below press release from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs regarding the fifth meeting of the Advisory Group and a report for Government on ’Planning for reopening Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare Services’

Press Release 03062020 2020 06 03

Covid Phased reopening report 3 june


2nd June – The AIM 2020/2021 programme year is now open for new applicants.

The AIM 2020/2021 programme year is now open for new applicants. Application forms are accessible via the AIM tab on the PIP portal.

Please note, although the AIM application system is open, in light of public health guidance, the delivery of AIM supports are dependent on the timing and nature of the re-opening of the ECCE programme for 2020/21. Further detail on this will be made available by the DCYA in due course.

Also, any AIM support awarded for the 2020/2021 pre-school year will be subject to the childcare service re-opening and the participation of the child or children in pre-school.

Due to current Covid 19 restrictions, a number of temporary changes are being implemented to facilitate the submission and processing of AIM applications. Further information on these changes are available here, please read this document carefully before submitting an application.

Applicants should apply as early as possible to ensure that the relevant supports are in place when required.

If you require assistance, please contact the Early Years Provider Centre at eypc@pobal.ie.


29th May – Press release from Minister Katherine Zappone

Please see the below press release from Minister Katherine Zappone announcing decisions and guidance to support the reopening of childcare services

PRESS RELEASE 29 May 2020


29th May – Letter from DCYA on the use of the TWSCS Overhead Payment.

Refer to DCYA Letter below providing further clarification on the use of the TWSCS Overhead Payment.

Further Clarification to use of Overhead Payment_29.05.2020

Early Years Finance Governance & Reform Compliance Team


27th May – Letter from the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, which includes important updates for providers on Government plans to reopen the early learning and care sector.

Also attached are:

  • a letter from the Secretary General of the Department, which you will be able to copy to your insurance broker if you intend to reopen your service in advance of 29 June, for preparatory works, and
  • a paper setting out the key principles which will underpin service reopening, including the latest health and safety advice.

Letter to providers SecGen

Ltr to Providers re Covid-19 Measures

Principles of Practice for Reopening ELC SAC

27th May – Programme Support Payments (PSP)

Programme Support Payments (PSP) will open for applications from Friday May 29 until

Friday June 12 2020; the payments will issue after the application process ends.

A ‘How to Guide’ including screen shots explaining how to apply through the service provider portal

is attached here: How to Guide for Completing the Programme Support Payment (PSP)

On Friday 17th April, to assist with any cash flow difficulties being experienced by services due to COVID-19,                   the DCYA released an advance payment of one third of the Programme Support Payment (PSP) that services were scheduled to receive in June 2020.

This payment together with the remaining two-thirds are subject to the terms and conditions outlined in the PSP application form.

In order to receive the remaining two-thirds and retain the one third already paid to services, the application form must be completed and submitted by Friday 12 June 2020.

Late applications will not be accepted

If a service does not wish to apply, then the advance payment must be returned. Please contact eypc@pobal.ie to make arrangements to return the payment.

Calculation of PSP 2019/2020 (included in announcement of advance payment 15/04/2020)

The PSP for this programme cycle involves a new calculation to include the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) which is being brought into the PSP along with ECCE, CCSP and TEC. The total amount available to providers for 2020, payable this year, remains the same as last year at €19.4m, however, funding for individual providers and registrations may differ from previous years.

PSP is calculated based on a period in time referred to as the “snapshot” period. A number of different snapshot periods during the programme year have been used to calculate PSP since it was introduced in June 2017. This year, December 2019 was selected as an equitable point on which to base the ECCE, CCSP and TEC 2020 PSP payment and March 2020 was the base used for NCS, reflecting that it was a new scheme only introduced in November. PSP is calculated as equal to 7 days’ (1.4 weeks’) registrations for ECCE at Standard Capitation, 1 week for NCS, and 12.5 days’ (2.5 weeks’) registrations for CCSP and TEC, in respect of the 2019/20 programme cycle.

Note: You will receive a separate PSP payment relative to each contract, it will not be a combined single payment. Your provider portal and the remittance advice you receive will include a description of each payment. 


26th May – Message & Survey from EY Division for services that normally close over the summer

Further to our recent correspondence concerning upcoming provider surveys, please find attached here the survey questions for early learning and care and school-age childcare providers usually closed in July and August. This survey will be administered by phone with the support of Pobal and Better Start. Calls to providers that normally close in July and August will begin later this week. In order to support providers to gather the information they may need to participate in this survey, a copy of the survey is attached. Providers that cannot be reached by phone will be sent a link to the survey for self-completion.

In addition, with the purpose of obtaining the views of the sector on the re-opening of services, the Department has opened a Call for Submissions. The Call for Submissions opened today (26 May) and will remain open until 5 June. The Call for Submission form can be accessed through the following link https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/SectorConsult.

The information from this survey and the call for submissions will provide the Department with important and up to date information regarding services and will inform re-opening plans. Therefore, your participation is strongly encouraged and appreciated.

The Minister and the Department will meet with the Advisory Group again later today and it is expected further updates will be circulated following this meeting.

Regards,

Early Years Division.

DCYA.


26th May – Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme – Verification Checks

Please refer to attached DCYA letter and Verification requirements on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme.


19th May – FAR training and the Covid-19 restrictions

We have received the following update from Tusla regarding FAR training:

The First Aid Responder (FAR) Education and Training Standard established by the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) is recognised by Tusla as the first aid course for children that meets the regulatory requirement. In an early years setting the number of people required to be trained in first aid for children (FAR) and that are available for first aid response is based on the service’s risk assessments, including the size of the service and the hazards identified.

Currently where a service provides evidence that a person(s) is trained in First Aid for children and is available to children at all times the regulatory requirement is deemed to have been met by the Tusla Early Years Inspectorate. Prior to the COVID -19 pandemic this was to continue to be acceptable until the 31st May 2020. The regulatory requirement was due to change from the 1st of June 2020. The change required is that at least one person(s) is to have had undertaken the FAR (First Aid Response) course delivered by a trainer approved by PHECC to be available to children at all times in a service.

Due to the on-going pandemic, Tusla and Dept. of Children and Youth Affairs have agreed to extend the timeframe to meet this regulatory requirement to the end of February 2021.

In addition, for those staff that already have FAR certification which has now expired or is due to expire – their certificates will remain valid until courses are up and running again.

The DCYA had committed to providing a subsidy for the training of one staff member, per childcare service. This was supposed to have finished by the original deadline of 1 June 2020. In light of Tusla’s statement, the DCYA are extending the subsidy eligibility to the end of 2020.

Online training:

Owing to the current Covid-19 restrictions, PHECC have agreed that the theory part of the FAR training course can be delivered as an online component. PHECC have stipulated that the online theory training will be:

  • For the short term only and will be limited to the duration of the current Covid-19 situation.
  • Does not replace the whole course, is for FAR theory only.
  • Full certification cannot come from this part of the training.
  • Practical’s and assessment should be on hold until the current Covid-19 situation is over.
  • The online session must be live and the trainer must ensure that they can document that participants engaged fully.
  • There will be a limit of participants to 8 as in the face-to-face course

Such a significant departure from normal standards shall be limited to the duration of the current Covid-19 crisis.

Things to consider

Before undertaking online FAR theory training Childcare Providers should ensure the following:

There is no obligation to undertake online training, services can opt to wait until the face-to-face courses are being offered and undertake the training in the normal way. However, the subsidy will only be available until the end of 2020 (see payment schedule on application form).

Claiming the partial subsidy:

On completion of the online theory training, services can apply for a maximum of €150 which represents 2/3 of the total subsidy or 2/3 of what you paid for the course, whichever is the lesser by completing the attached application form and submitting along with a receipt and a certificate/letter confirming that the participant has undertaken the full online theory course. On completion of the practical part of the course, the provider can apply for the remaining €75 by submitting their certificate.


18th May – Press Release

Dr. Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, chaired the second meeting of the ‘Advisory Group on Reopening Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare services’ on Friday (15 May 2020).

See press release here: PRESS RELEASE re. Advisory Group 18052020


15th May – Phased reopening of early learning and care and school-age facilities in line with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business.

Please see the below letter from Minister Zappone announcing the establishment of an Advisory Group along with the Terms of Reference for the Advisory Group

Ltr to Providers re Covid-19 Measures 15052020

Advisory Group ToR


15th May – Update: Application Form for Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (TWSCS)

Dear Service Provider,

Please see important information regarding the TWSCS application form below.

Employee ID number

An important change has been made to the TWSCS application form. Services completing the form are now asked to provide a unique 3 digit number only for the employee ID number for each of their staff and are no longer required to include the DCYA reference.

Multi-service organisations

We would like to advise when calculating the gross weekly payroll costs, multi-service organisations can either:

  1. Select a single service and enter the total payroll costs for the organisation, or
  2. Input the payroll costs for each service individually.

Guidance documents have also been updated to reflect this change.

Payments

Payments will be made to all services who have correctly submitted the application form by 1pm on Tuesday, 19th May.

Those who have not submitted the application form will not receive payment.

Application guidance

We urge services yet to submit the application form to do so as soon as possible. Please read the updated TWSCS Phase 2 Application Form – Application Guidance Document for direction on what is required before doing so.

For further assistance, please contact the Early Years Provider Centre at eypc@pobal.ie.


13th May 2020 – Statement on Cancellation of Temporary Childcare Scheme for Essential Health Workers

Published: 13 May 2020
From: Department of Children and Youth Affairs
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone today announced, with regret, that the Temporary Childcare Scheme for Essential Health Workers will not proceed on the 18 May as planned. The scheme was launched last Thursday with a call to childcare services to volunteer to provide childcare for health workers in their homes. Unfortunately, uptake for the scheme among childcare providers has been much lower than was hoped, with only six providers applying to join the scheme so far. It has become clear that the low uptake is unlikely to change.

The Scheme was designed in response to a request from the Department of Health and the HSE to put emergency childcare in place for essential health workers. In developing a scheme that satisfies public health requirements, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs worked closely with public health officials and colleagues across Government, and took on board feedback from the sector in relation to the operation of such a scheme.

A variety of reasons have been put forward for the low sign-up rate. These include availability of insurance cover, concerns about possible virus transmission, difficulties in meeting employer responsibilities in relation to breaks and rest periods, and concerns about a lack of protection for staff working alone. The Department was always conscious of the fact that the 27,000 workforce consisted predominantly of women, many of whom had their own parental and caring responsibilities and some of whom had underlying health conditions. However, it had hoped that sufficient numbers would come forward to enable the scheme to operate.

The scheme that was announced involved childcare practitioners working on an outreach basis in the homes of health workers, with childcare providers and their staff being paid for the service. The funding allowed for payment of an average wage of €15 per hour for childcare practitioners, in addition to associated employer costs, as well as a management overhead to provide for supervision and support. Guidance, developed in collaboration with the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) in the HSE, was made available to providers on how to meet public health advice.

The Minister noted that the challenge of introducing childcare provision at this time is a difficult one given the important public health restrictions in place. While the home based approach met public health requirements, the provision of this type of model raised other difficulties, and the sector were concerned generally about potential health impacts amidst continued strict social distancing rules.

It was a temporary response in an emergency situation which required participants to operate outside of their normal environments.

The Minister acknowledged the efforts both within her own Department and externally to get the scheme up and running. She had sincerely hoped that it would be possible to deliver such a scheme successfully and so ease some of the burden on our frontline health workers. Unfortunately this has not proved to be the case.

The Minister noted that her Department remains strongly focused on developing solutions to the significant challenges of a phased reopening of early learning and childcare facilities for 29 June in line with the Government’s Roadmap on Reopening Society and Business.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs will continue to work with Government colleagues, public health officials and the childcare sector, and to this end the Minister had very constructive engagement this afternoon (13 May) with a number of representatives of providers and staff.


13th May 2020 – AIM Update

The process for new applications for AIM Levels 4, 5 and 7 has not yet opened. A further announcement in relation to the above will be made soon. 
The application process for AIM Level 7 2nd year extensions is currently open. Please note, 2nd year extensions should be submitted as early as possible to ensure that the relevant supports are in place for September.
Early Years Team

Update: Phase 2 of DCYA Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (TWSCS) now open for applications

The TWSCS application form is now live on the Early Years Hive.

Completion of the application form is mandatory and is a condition of the TWSCS Funding Agreement. The deadline for completing the form is 1 July.

All services must have an account set up on the Early Years Hive and will need to use their username and password to log in and access the form. Any service provider who has forgotten their password or need support in setting up their account should contact EYPC@pobal.ie.

The next scheduled payment of 22 May will be made only to services who have completed and submitted a Funding Agreement and application by 1pm Tuesday 19 May.

Please see the TWSCS Phase 2 Applicatin Form – Application Guidance Document 11.05.2020 for assistance on completing the form. The TCSEHW Factsheet – 08.05.2020 for service providers has also been updated to include the phase 2 application process.

Early Years Team


8th May 2020 – Phase 2 of the TWSCS will go live on Monday, 11th May.

Application process

Phase 2 comprises an application form which will be available to complete and submit on the Early Years Hive.

All services must have an account set up on the Hive and will need to use their username and password to log in and access the form. Invitation links have been sent to the PAU of any organisation who has not previously registered on the Early Years Hive but has accepted the terms and conditions of the Funding Agreement. Service providers do not need to complete all readiness steps or activate an NCS contract in order to submit this application form.

The PAU will be required to complete a number of questions for each employee per facility, including information on their pre-COVID-19 Average Revenue Net Weekly Pay (ARNWP).

Completion of the application form is mandatory and is a condition of the TWSCS Funding Agreement and the deadline for completing the form is 1 July.

Timelines

Funding Agreement closing date – 10 June (or 1 week in advance of the Revenue TWSS closing)

Application form opening date – 11 May and closing date – 1 July

Payments

The next scheduled payment of 22 May will be made only to services who have completed and submitted a Funding Agreement and application by 1pm Tuesday 19 May.

These payments will be based on information provided in the application form. The payment amounts calculated will be reconciled with any preliminary payments already made, and a payment will be made, if due, on 22 May. If an overpayment has occurred, no payment will be issued and it will roll over and be reconciled against next payment due on 5 June. If an overpayment still exists, this will be reconciled against future payments under ELC and SAC programmes (ECCE, AIM, NCS, CCSP, TEC).

An announcement will be posted on Monday, 11 May on the PIP Portal with a step-by-step application guide for completing the form.

For support with any of the process please contact eypc@pobal.ie


8th May 2020 – Important: TCSEHW Volunteer Application Form Version 2

Please be advised that an important update has been made to the Volunteer Application Form ver. 2 – 08.05.2020 for the Temporary Childcare Scheme for Essential Health Workers (TCSEHW). The version now found in PIP Resources is version 2 and replaces the previous version.

We kindly ask that any services in the process of completing and/or submitting the form do so with the latest version.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Early Years Team


8th May 2020 – Update: Temporary Childcare Scheme for Essential Health Workers

Further to yesterday’s announcement on TCSEHW, please find the letter from Assistant Secretary Bernie McNally to service providers relating to the introduction of the new Scheme Here

Please also find the Temporary Childcare Scheme for Essential Health Workers: TCSEHW Factsheet – 08.05.2020 which contains a summary of the main points of the Scheme for your benefit.


7th May 2020 – Letter, Press Release, FAQs & an Outreach pack from the DCYA regarding the Temporary Childcare Scheme for Essential Health Workers (TCSEHW) 

Please see the attached letter from Assistant Secretary Bernie McNally FINAL Letter to Providers 07052020

including a Press Release Press release – Temporary Childcare Scheme for Essential Health Workers

Frequently Asked Questions document FAQ – TCSEHW May 7

along with a DCYA outreach pack relating to the introduction of the new Temporary Childcare Scheme for Essential Health Workers (TCSEHW) Outreach Pack TCSEHW May 7


7th May 2020 –Minister Zappone announces plan to provide childcare for essential health workers

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, today announced new, emergency measures to support essential health workers who are having difficulty meeting their childcare needs.  This forms part of Phase 1 of the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business.

The service will be limited to parents / guardians defined as essential health workers during the Covid emergency.

The delivery of childcare services to this group follows Government plans to lift restrictions gradually and in line with public health advice and recommendations. The scheme is designed to protect children, their families and the childcare practitioners who will offer this new service.

Existing, registered childcare services will be asked to consider signing up for the service and opening as an outreach hub. They will be asked to support essential healthcare workers by offering childcare in those families’ homes. Childcare services which can fulfil this need will be requested to respond to a letter that the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) will issue to every service in the country today. Only Tusla-registered services will be allowed to participate. All staff taking part will be experienced early learning and care or school-age childcare practitioners who have been Garda vetted.

A number of early learning and care and school-age childcare services have already indicated their willingness to support vital health staff. Pobal, which will assist DCYA with the administration of the new initiative, may focus initially on larger full-day services, but all services are being asked to consider signing up for the scheme.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has acknowledged that many childcare practitioners will not be available to take part due to their own parenting or caring responsibilities, but she asked that those who are in a position to contribute to this element of Ireland’s emergency call, would consider doing so.

The Government will make additional funding available to services that reopen to provide the service and details regarding this will be published in briefing material to be shared with providers today. In addition, there will be a low, flat-rate fee for parents who benefit from the new scheme.

In responding to the request to make childcare services available, Minister Zappone said:

“In these difficult and unprecedented times, we are all being asked to play our part. The early learning and care and school-age childcare sector has already indicated its willingness to help our colleagues in the health sector as they perform their critical work. Today, Government is formally asking them for their assistance.

The Minister continued:

“To this end, I have established a new emergency scheme which will fund childcare for parents and guardians working in essential health services to enable them to continue their crucial work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Government is asking that childcare providers and their staff consider signing up for this service, and in doing so, make a significant contribution to the Covid-19 emergency.

“I am very grateful to the childcare sector which constantly demonstrates its willingness to go beyond the call of duty to support children and families.”

Minister Zappone plans that childcare provision under this initiative can become available from Monday 18 May, as part of Phase 1 of the easing of restrictions currently scheduled to begin on that day. While today’s communications are targeted towards childcare providers, to allow them start the process of signing up, more information will be made available early next week for parents or guardians. Once this information is made available, parents eligible for this temporary scheme can start to sign up.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs is encouraging interested services to consider the information and Pobal will contact childcare providers through the standard communications channels. Pobal and DCYA will consider the number and circumstances of services that have confirmed their availability to contribute and they will select a number of these to start with. More services and / or their staff will be selected if required as time progresses.

30 City and County Childcare Committees around the country will assist Pobal and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in administering the service. Identified service providers will be contacted by Pobal as soon as possible to assess their availability to support this emergency measure.

Early next week, eligible health workers will be advised to contact a Pobal Parent Support Centre to request the service and to indicate their childcare needs and preferences.

The Minister concluded:

“There is a great sense of national solidarity with the health sector in this challenging time. The early learning and care and school-age childcare sector has already expressed huge support, offering help and advice to parents and guardians during this very difficult period.

Our ability to respond to this crisis reveals the value, strength and resilience of the sector and once again demonstrates that early learning and care and school-age childcare services are a critical part of the national infrastructure.”

All services that participate in this initiative will be supported to follow HSE guidance related to COVID-19. Information packs containing essential information and supports will be made available to them. Staff who outreach into family homes will continue to be supported by their employer.

ENDS


7th May – Updated FAQs v5 & TWSCS: How-To Guide

Please see the attached updated FAQs v5 document  FAQ V5 07.05.20 FINAL

& Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme: A How-To Guide: How-to guide TWSCS FINAL 07.05.20

from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs that issued to ELC & SAC providers for your information.


6th May 2020 – AIM Level 7 – 2nd year extensions process during Covid-19

For children who are currently receiving AIM supports and are eligible to avail of a 2nd year of the ECCE programme from September 2020/21:

If the child is eligible and is expected to return to the same pre-school setting for a second year and circumstances have not changed, services in receipt of AIM Level 7 supports must submit a 2nd year extension request for all eligible children. This request can be submitted via the AIM tab on the PIP Portal from Wednesday 6th May.  Confirmation of continued support will be contingent on services being advised they can re-open, following Covid-19 closures.

If the child who is currently availing of AIM supports is expected to move to another pre-school in September 2020/21, or a for a child expected to enrol in a first year of ECCE, a new AIM application will need to be made by the new pre-school provider in conjunction with the parent(s).

A further announcement in relation to the timing of new AIM Applications for the 2020/21 programme call will be made shortly.

AIM Level 5

If a child child in receipt of AIM Level 5 equipment is transitioning to school in September 2020, transfer of ownership documents will be issued in due course.  If a child in receipt of AIM Level 5 equipment is expected to move to another pre-school in September 2020, a new AIM application must be submitted by the new pre-school provider in conjunction with the parent(s).

A further announcement in relation to the timing of new AIM Level 5 Applications for the 2020/21 programme call will be issued shortly.

Early Years Team


1st May 2020 -Covid-19: Emergency Childcare service for Essential Healthcare Workers from 18 May

Existing registered childcare services will be invited to participate in the provision of childcare in the homes of essential healthcare workers from 18 May

On Friday 1st May the Taoiseach outlined a ‘roadmap’ to lifting restrictions.

Government has asked the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to oversee the provision of childcare in the homes of essential healthcare workers from 18 May. This outreach childcare model has also been supported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) as part of the first phase of easing restrictions.

Existing registered childcare services will be invited to participate in this initiative. Participation in the service will be voluntary for both service providers and for childcare professionals. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and her department have acknowledged the number of dedicated childcare services and professionals that have expressed their interest in supporting such an initiative in recent weeks and being part of Ireland’s call to action in these very difficult times.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone said:

“Over the past few weeks my department has been planning for this emergency childcare service. We have been listening to suggestions from the sector. Now, with this decision to introduce the service, we will engage more intensively to make final preparations. A meeting with provider representatives will be arranged for early next week. We will make further information available to providers and their staff who may wish to volunteer as soon as possible thereafter. We will also finalise details with the Department of Health and the HSE and release information to essential healthcare workers on how they can access the scheme from 18 May.
“I would like to sincerely thank the services and staff who are planning to volunteer for doing their part in this unprecedented time for our health service. I know that not every early education or childcare service or staff member will be in a position to volunteer, but for those who can, their service is greatly valued.”

30th April – Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (TWSCS) – Factsheet Version 3: 30 April 2020

Please note that this is version 3 and replaces the previous version.

29th April 2020 – Support for Parents with ideas and activities under the themes of Aistear, the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework.

A number of supports for parents were recently launched by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

A key element of that support comes under First 5, the Government’s strategy for babies, young children and their families, and includes play and learning resources for children under 6.

These online resources are being hosted on the First 5 website, www.first5.gov.ie, with ideas and activities under the themes of Aistear, the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework.

As well as activities for parents to enjoy with their children, the online resources also give tips on supporting children with their feelings, and ideas and activities for learning through play.

A number of early years organisations have been working together to support the development of these resources, including Early Childhood Ireland, the National Childhood Network, and Better Start. Early Childhood Ireland has prepared a number of videos on behalf of the Department which include early learning and care providers and specialists. These videos, in the “Preschool at Home” section of the First 5 website, aim to inspire families to discover the learning and play that can take place at home.

We hope the ideas on the website will encourage parents to support their children to use their imagination and own experiences to explore and make new discoveries – from role play, to creative arts, to light play, to malleable materials and many more… The website includes ideas for how to use resources that can be found at home.

The other site you will be interested in is the Let’s Play Ireland initiative; https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/lets-play-ireland/

Let’s Play Ireland is a government-led initiative aimed at promoting play for all children living in Ireland during the COVID-19 emergency.  The website is packed full of useful ideas and information for children and their families.


27th April 2020 – FAQ’s Version 4 & How to Guide

Please see attached updated Information and Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Measures for providers and staff of Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare Services’.Please note this is version 4 and replaces previous versions.

It contains information on the DCYA operated Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (TWSCS) which is now available for sign-up.

Also, please find attached a second document the Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme: How-To Guide. This document is a guide which sets out information on the practicalities of operating the DCYA Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (TWSCS). It aims to be informative and useful for providers processing payments for the period of the scheme.


22nd April 2020 – Updated Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (TWSCS) Factsheet

In light of updates made to the DCYA’s FAQs on COVID-19 Measures yesterday, please see below an updated version of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme Factsheet – 22.04.2020

Please note that this is version 2 and replaces the previous version.


21st April 2020 – FAQ’s V3 from the DCYA

Please see the below link to FAQs v3 document from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs issued today.

FAQ V3 21 04 20 FINAL 16 50 (2)


21st April 2020 – WSCS Preliminary Payments

Payments under the Department of Children and Youth Affairs Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (DCYA TWSC) will be issued this week on 24th April 2020 to any service provider who has accepted the terms of the funding agreement and submitted the form by today 5pm Tuesday 21st April.

Important: To sign up for and benefit from this scheme, participating ELC and SAC providers with employees must register for the Revenue Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (Revenue TWSS) and operate the Revenue TWSS in accordance with the Revenue TWSS guidance.

Preliminary payments will be made based on a model that estimates amounts due under the DCYA TWSC scheme for both wages and overheads. When the DCYA TWSC value has been calculated, any preliminary payments under this agreement will be reconciled with the actual DCYA TWSC Scheme payments due to services following submission to Pobal of an application form and proof of the Revenue calculation. Further information on this process will be provided in the coming weeks.

As Childcare Services with no employees are not identifiable from PIP/EYP, the preliminary payments do not account for providers with no employees. Any excess in the preliminary payment will be reconciled when the DCYA TWSC Scheme payment value is calculated.

A reconciliation of payments made for the week 4th – 10th April under previous schemes ECCE (including AIM), CCSP, TEC and NCS will also be done when processing the second payment due 1st May for any providers signing on up to the DCYA TWSC Scheme.


21st April 2020 – Further guidance for the ELC & SAC sector on the interaction between the Revenue TWSS and the DCYA TWSC Scheme 21/04/2020 – CCCs

Further to the communication that issued on Friday 17 April regarding difficulties running payroll under the Revenue Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) / DCYA Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (DCYA TWSC Scheme), please see below further guidance for the ELC and SAC sector on the interaction between the TWSS and the DCYA TWSC Scheme.

Further Guidance Doc

The guidance above is taken from updated guidance on the TWSS, which was published by Revenue this morning (https://www.revenue.ie/en/employing-people/documents/pmod-topics/guidance-on-operation-of-temporary-covid-wage-subsidy-scheme.pdf).

We are currently compiling an update to the DCYA FAQ on the DCYA TWSC Scheme to include this updated guidance and responses to other questions we have been receiving. We will circulate updated FAQ later today.

Regards,

Early Years Division.

20th April 2020 – Reminder: Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (WSCS) funding agreement

As you know the PAU for your organisation received an email on Thursday, 16th April with a link to the Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (WSCS) Funding Agreement.

Payments will be issued on Friday 24th April to any service provider who has accepted the terms of this agreement and submitted the form to Pobal by 5pm on Tuesday, 21st April.

The application form for Phase 2 of WSCS process is currently being finalised and will be made available in the coming weeks.

If you have any queries on the application process please contact eypc@pobal.ie.

Early Years Team

17th April 2020 – Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (WSCS) Funding Agreement Reminder and Factsheet

Dear Service Provider,

As you know, the PAU for your organisation received an email yesterday, 16th April, with a link to the Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (WSCS) Funding Agreement.

Payments will be issued on Friday, 24th April to any service provider who has accepted the terms of this agreement and submitted the form to Pobal by 5pm on Tuesday, 21st April.

The application form for Phase 2 of WSCS process is currently being finalised and will be made available in the coming weeks.

Please also find the Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme Factsheet for your benefit here: Factsheet

If you have any queries on the application process, please contact eypc@pobal.ie.

Early Years Team


16th April 2020 – Information on COVID-19 Measures for providers and staff of Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare Services (Updated 15 April 2020)

These FAQs aim to be informative but may be added to and/or amended as more information becomes available. In the event that any further corrections need to be made, these changes will be highlighted in future versions.

Please download the FAQ’s (version 2) by clicking on this link below

FAQ Version 2 15.4.2020 Final


16th April 2020 – Process for applying for the Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (WSCS)

Dear Service Provider

As you are aware DCYA are launching the Covid 19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (WSCS) on Thursday 16th April.   A copy of the Funding Agreement is available on PIP for you to review.

Please do not print and submit the copy which is available on PIP.   The process for applying for the Covid-19 WSCS is a two phased approach, details of Phase 2 are currently being finalised and the application for and the step by step process will be made available in due course.   The process for Phase 1 is as follows:

Process for applying for the Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (WSCS)- Phase 1

–         A copy of the Funding agreement is posted on the PIP Portal for review purposes only.

–         Service providers must be registered with Revenue for the COVID 19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.

–         On Thursday 16th April the PAU for each organisation will receive an email to the registered email account with a link to the Funding Agreement.  Once the provider follows the link, they must input the email address and password contained in the email.

–         The service provider will then be brought to the Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme Funding Agreement, which must be read, required details input and the terms and conditions accepted.

–         Once the required details are completed and the terms and conditions are accepted,  submit the form

Note to Multi Service Organisations:  The PAU will receive a separate email for each facility in the organisation.  The Terms and conditions must be accepted for each.     Pobal will contact the PAU of multi facility organisations only, after funding agreements are submitted as further information will be required.

WSCS Payments

Payments will be issued on Friday, 24th April, to any service provider who has submitted a Funding Agreement by 5pm on the Tuesday 21st April.

System Maintenance

Please note that due to scheduled system maintenance on Thursday 16th, between the hours of 3pm – 6pm Service Providers may experience difficulties in submitting the forms.

We regret any inconvenience this may cause.

For support on submitting the form Service Providers should contact eypc@pobal.ie


10th April 2020 – Message from DCYA

Dear Providers,

Earlier today you received a statement from the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform about the Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (WSCS).  Very good progress has been made on this scheme and the new Funding Agreement should be with you early next week for your consideration. Payments will be received on April 24th by those that sign up to it by April 21st.

Having considered how Exchequer funding can be best used to support the sector, funding for ECCE, NCS, CCSP and TEC schemes will be suspended from today enabling the wider sector to benefit fully from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) and the WSCS. Attached please find a letter notifying you formally of the temporary suspension of these schemes for the period of the COVID-19 Emergency.

Services are reminded that to avail of the WSCS, you must be registered for the Revenue’s TWSS (unless your service has no employees). Those who have already registered for the TWSS, or who register now, can get a payment of €410 per eligible staff member per week, within days of doing so. Registration with and payments made under the TWSS can be backdated to March 26th. The €410 per week per staff member due under the WSS will be reconciled by Revenue with the exact amount owed around April 20th.  The WSCS will be backdated to April 6th for those who sign up to the WSCS.

Additionally, to support cash flow, DCYA is planning to release a proportion (33%) of the Programme Support Payment you were scheduled to receive in June, to reach your account on April 17th. We will provide further detail re this on Tuesday.

DCYA acknowledges the significant distress COVID-19 has caused for everyone in Ireland and particularly for those operating businesses, including those running ELC and SAC services and employing staff. DCYA has worked intensively over the last four weeks to deliver a package of measures to assist the sector.  We have been collating your many questions and preparing answers in collaboration with colleagues in Revenue and elsewhere. We will be issuing answers to those questions early next week alongside the publication of the WSCS Funding Agreement.

Wishing you a safe and happy Easter.

EY Division.

Department of Children and Youth Affairs.


10th April 2020

Joint statement from the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and Minister for DPER/Finance on measures for Childcare Sector during COVID-19

Following a meeting this morning between An Taoiseach, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, and the Minister for DPER/Finance, a pathway to introduce measures already outlined for the Childcare Sector has been agreed.

Given the economic necessity to ensure that the Sector remains sustainable following the current crisis so that parents can return to work or training, agreement was reached on how this could be best achieved within the context of other measures introduced by the Government.

Retaining childcare workers in the sector is key to future sustainability and the Government acknowledges this.

Unfortunately, plans to issue contracts to Childcare Providers today have had to be deferred until next week in order to ensure that there is compatibility with schemes in other sectors. Funding under the scheme will however be backdated to 6 April to account for the delay. Services are encouraged to register for the Revenue Wage Subsidy Scheme in the interim if they have not already done so.

Speaking following the meeting Minister Zappone said:

“Given the current challenges, we have been working intensively to introduce measures to ensure, as far as possible, that ECCE (free pre-school) and childcare will be available to children when we emerge from this crisis. While I regret the time it has taken to implement these measures, I am satisfied, following my meeting with An Taoiseach and the Minister for PER this morning, that we will be able to implement the robust measures which will allow us the best shot at a functioning Early Education and Childcare sector when this current crisis ends.”

Minister Donohoe commented:

“As Minister for PER I support the necessity to ensure that parents can return to work and training as seamlessly as possible including with childcare support. Our Early Learning and Care services, including the ECCE programme, are an extension of our education system. I am pleased that we are finalising measures to effect the necessary supports needed to ensure that our entire economy is ready to return to work in the best possible shape in the period ahead.”

3rd April 2020

Clarification around the email that issued to ELC & SAC providers on Friday evening 03/04/2020

Dear Early Years Provider,

Approximately €5m in payments will issue from Pobal to relevant providers on Wednesday, 8 April 2020 and should be in providers’ bank accounts on Thursday, 9 April 2020.

ECCE, CCSP and TEC

Payments to contracted ELC and SAC services will be calculated based on current child registrations and the calendars submitted by the provider to Pobal on or before the closure of services on 12 March 2020.

It should be noted that payments will only be made to services that had 6-10 April marked as a payable week on their calendar on the date of closure, 12 March 2020. Payments will therefore reflect the amount that would have been expected by services, and committed by DCYA, before COVID closures, for the week Monday 6 April to Friday 10 April.

NCS

The two weeks of 30 March to 5 April and 6 April to 12 April will be paid on 9 April. Where a provider may have opted for an unpaid week in either of these payment periods, this payment will be treated as a paid closure and reconciled when services have reopened.

Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme

 DCYA continues to work closely with our Government partners regarding the Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme.

Early Years Division.

DCYA.


6th April 2020 – PIP Notification

Further clarification from the DCYA on payments.

Approximately €4m in payments will issue from Pobal to relevant providers on Wednesday and should be in accounts on Thursday, 9 April.

Payments are individualised by contracted ELC and SAC service according to current child registrations and their calendar for the period 6-10 April only. (Note for those delivering NCS: the two weeks of 30 March to 3 April and 6 April to 10 April are due for payment on 9 April.)

This is the total amount that would have been expected by services, and committed by DCYA, before COVID-19, for the week Monday 6 April to Friday 10 April. It includes CCS, NCS, TEC and a small amount for ECCE.

The smaller amount for ECCE reflects that most ECCE services were due to be closed for Easter.

DCYA cannot confirm a date for the new WSCS funding agreement but is working intensively, and significant progress has been made.

Services are reminded that the WSCS layers on top of the Revenue scheme (WSS) and hence services wishing to avail of the new DCYA scheme must be registered for WSS first.

Early Years Division
DCYA


4th April 2020:

DCYA update on Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme Update & Payments for ELC and SAC programmes on an ex-gratia basis up until 10 April 2020

Further to previous communications that have issued in recent weeks, DCYA has been working intensively on the new Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme to support the Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare sector at this extremely difficult time.

We are working closely with Revenue and other partners across Government on how the Revenue’s Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s Pandemic Unemployment Payment will interact with the DCYA Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme.

We have made significant progress, but unfortunately the DCYA Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme is not yet ready to launch.

In the interim, as a sustainability measure and pending the finalisation of the new scheme, DCYA will continue to make payments for ELC and SAC programmes based on service calendars on an ex-gratia basis up until 10 April 2020.

Services continue to have access to the Wage Subsidy Scheme and other Government supports listed in our recent FAQs.

We regret the delay in finalising this complex new scheme and thank you for your patience at this challenging time. We are however, as stated, making significant progress and we will continue to work on this over the weekend.

We will revert to you as soon as possible.


Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) Information and FAQs on COVID 19 Measures for providers and staff of Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare Services

PDF Version: OC Covid FAQs 30th March

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