Tuesday, 29 November 2016
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Community Childcare Subvention Programme
773. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the ECCE child care scheme has caused some difficulties for some child care providers especially if they are open 50 weeks a year (details supplied). [37189/16]
Officials from my Department have sought clarification from the Deputy as to what is meant by CSSF funding, and it is my understanding that the Deputy is referring to the Community Childcare Subvention Programme. Childcare service providers receive grant funding from the Department for the provision of ECCE for a period of 38 weeks, as per the 2016/17 ECCE grant funding agreement. Community/not for profit Childcare services that provide the ECCE Programme may also avail of grant funding for the provision of TEC and CCS for up to a period of 52 weeks per year. Both TEC and CCS will be subsumed into Single Affordable Childcare Scheme from September 2017. The new scheme will provide up to 48 weeks of childcare per year.
Although my Department does not act as employer to childcare it does acknowledge that the sector is under cost pressure, and that staff wages are a large component of cost. To go some way towards addressing this, I have secured additional funding of €14 million in Budget 2017 which will enable ECCE providers to be paid for a 39th week and part of a 40th week (7 ECCE days in total or 1.4 ECCE weeks) where they will have no children present and they will be able to pay staff to concentrate on administrative workload. Services themselves can decide how to use the payment when it is received. For the average ECCE service with 25 children, this will mean an additional annual payment of approximately €2,400 per annum. Part of the additional funding €14m will be given to CCS and TEC providers on a pro-rata basis also to acknowledge their administrative burden also. The Affordable Childcare Scheme when introduced in Sept 17 will replace CCS and TEC and will have recognition of non-contact time built into its cost base. In addition, under Budget 2017 a provision was made for a fund of €1m to assist in the investigation of sustainability issues being faced by childcare providers, and to develop a policy to guide any future interventions. This initiative is at an early stage and officials will commence work in this regard in early 2017.