Thursday, 28 September 2017
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Affordable Childcare Scheme Eligibility
250. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to allow parents that are students and in receipt of the SUSI higher education grant avail of full access to the affordable childcare scheme under band A; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41026/17]
Currently SUSI grants do not give rise to eligibility for subsidised childcare, although some recipients of SUSI grants may be eligible for subsidised childcare on other grounds. For example, if a SUSI grant-recipient also has a Medical Card or a GP Visit Card, then the SUSI grant-recipient may be eligible for childcare subsidised through the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) scheme. In addition, the ECCE free pre-school programme is a universal programme that provides 15 hours of free early care and education for 38 weeks per year for children aged between 3 and school entry, regardless of parental income.
A new universal subsidy for childcare was introduced by my Department in September for children aged between 6 months and 36 months, or until qualification for the ECCE free pre-school programme if that is later than 36 months. As this new subsidy is universal, it is available to SUSI grant recipients who are not already in receipt of a CCS childcare subsidy. Provided the child is within the specified age-range, a subsidy of up €20 per week is available in any Tusla-registered childcare provider, for up to 52 weeks per year.
In addition, at the earliest possible date the existing targeted childcare schemes will be replaced by the Affordable Childcare Scheme. When it is introduced, the Affordable Childcare Scheme will change the basis of eligibility for subsidised childcare. Rather than eligibility being based on possession of a Medical Card (or GP Visit Card) or receipt of a relevant social welfare payment or participation in a designated training course, eligibility will then be based on family income.