ECCE – The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme 

ECCE Provider Agreement 2023-24

The ECCE programme is a universal programme available to all children within the eligible age range. It provides children with their first formal experience of early learning prior to commencing primary school. The programme is provided for three hours per day, five days per week over 38 weeks2 per year and the programme year runs from September to June.  There is an obligation on those in receipt of public funding to strictly adhere to all the rules contained in this entire document as set out by the Minister for the Department of Children, Equality, Disability,Integration and Youth.

A service must be registered with Tusla to receive funding from DCEDIY. Services who provide both an ELC and an SAC service must be registered with Tusla for both services. All facilities/locations operated
by a service must be registered with Tusla, have an individual Service Reference number and children must attend the facility/ location in which they are registered. Proof of Tusla registration must be available on the premises for inspection if required.

  • Service providers must be registered with Tusla for the places being provided:
  • Full day-care places (more than 5 hours per day)
  • Part-time places (between 3 hours 31 minutes and 5 hours per day)
  • Sessional places (between 2 hours 16 minutes and 3 hours 30 minutes per day)
  • Half-session places (between 1 hour and 2 hours 15 minutes per day)
    E.g. Services cannot be funded for part-time places when registered with Tusla as a sessional service. It is compulsory for all services providing childcare to register with Tusla.

The programme rules for ECCE 2022/23 & 2023/24 can be found below


Once the above tasks are complete, you are now ready to activate the funding agreement for ECCE .The funding agreement is available on the Programmes page. You can find a guide and a training video on activating an ECCE funding agreement in the Help & Support section of the Hive here.

Child registration for ECCE  will be available from July on Hive.

Childcare services taking part in the ECCE scheme must provide an appropriate pre-school educational programme which adheres to the principles of Síolta and Aistear, the national frameworks for early years care and education.  To download a copy of the compliance guide and checklist please click below:

An ELC Service provider must have a minimum enrolment number of eight ECCE-eligible children per session.

ECCE pre-registration form

Exceptions to the minimum enrolment number may be granted in some circumstances. Applications must be submitted to the City/County Childcare Committee.

ECCE is administered on the Early Years Hive portal and all Programme Readiness tasks must be completed on the Hive. Please see the below guides available in the Help & Support section of the Hive for guidance:

Once you complete the above tasks, you are now ready to activate the funding agreement for ECCE .The funding agreement is available under the Programmes tab. You can find a guide and a training video on activating an ECCE funding agreement in the Help & Support section of the Hive here.

Service Providers must be on-boarded on the Hive in order to complete these readiness tasks. If you are new to Hive and looking to on-board your service, please see the on-boarding page of Hive for more information.

Registering a child on the ECCE

Parents must complete an ECCE Pre Registration Form

The Childcare Service must provide the parent with a Fee Policy and Calendar.

Fees List and Service Calendar  

Service providers are required to develop a Fees List for the ECCE programme that they provide. It is important to capture all the session types that a service provider offers to parents. The ECCE Fees List must reflect that ECCE funding from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is not a subvention payment, it is intended to support services providers to provide three free hours per day of ECCE.

If the service provider offers any deposits, discounts or optional extras; they must be documented. For presentation purposes on the Fees List, please be mindful to add a new line for each additional Optional Extra offered.

Good Practice Guide for Attendance Records ECCE Programme

Changes in relation to the ECCE Programme 

The following is a summary of changes to the ECCE programme

  • All eligible children will receive two full programme years
  • Age of eligibility reduced from 3 years to 2 years and 8 months
  • Upper age limit remains 5 years and 6 months
  • Number of enrolment points changed from three to one in September
  • Standard capitation increased to €69
  • Higher capitation increased to €80.25

The new measures will fully benefit those born from 2015 onwards whilst those born previous to that will continue to benefit from the expanded programme announced in Budget 2016.

The following table sets out relevant eligibility dates by year of birth:

Table 1: Eligibility for ECCE by month of birth and of enrolment in pre-school

Birth date betweenEligible Enrolment date(s)ECCE end date
1st January 2017 –

31st December 2017

1st September 2020 +

1st September 2021

June 2022
1st January 2018 –

31st December 2018

1st September 2021 +

1st September 2022

June 2023
1st January 2019 –

31st December 2019

1st September 2022 +

1st September 2023

June 2024
1st January 2020 – 31st December 20201st September 2023 + 1st September 2024June 2025
1st January 2021 – 31st December 20211st September 2024 + 1st September 2025June 2026

Useful Downloads for the ECCE Scheme

ECCE Payment Calendar 2022-23

ECCE agreement

Qualifications Checklist

Declaration – Form

Minimum numbers exemption

ECCE pre-registration form

Letters to parent/guardian


Attendance exemption forms

TCAN template

Force majeure

Fee Management:

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