Written answers

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Child Care Services Funding

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Sinn Fein)
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680. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if emergency funding is available for childcare centres that due to external factors lose their buildings and accommodation. [32369/18]

Photo of Katherine ZapponeKatherine Zappone (Dublin South West, Independent)
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My Department offers a range of supports to childcare services.  Primarily we provide capitation and subsidy payments that cover or contribute towards the cost of services under individual schemes. These are paid based on the numbers of children and their attendance levels. My Department now also makes €18m available annually in Programme Support Payments to providers which contribute towards the administrative or non-contact time costs of delivering childcare schemes.

For a number of years we have operated annual Early Years and School Age Capital Schemes  to assist services to expand and / or improve the quality of service provision.

I am very conscious of sustainability challenges faced by some services across the country and hence in Budget 2017 I negotiated the first ever Sustainability Fund. I am pleased that this was enhanced further in Budget 2018 and now stands at €1.7m. This funding is to be used in 2018 and beyond to provide sustainability assistance in the areas of preventative, early intervention and transitional supports.  The targeting of the supports for 2018 is still being finalised but has been planned to provide assistance to prevent and alleviate sustainability issues, as well as in cases of emergency.  In this regard, community / not for profit services who, due to unforeseen circumstances, find themselves without a suitable premises, may have access to some funding that will enable them to secure a short term or long term abode for their service.

Although both community / not for profit and private childcare services play a vital role in their communities, the financial supports in relation to sustainability issues are currently targeted at the community / not for profit sector only.

My Department also offers significant non-financial supports to services. These are provided by both Pobal and the staff of thirty City and County Childcare Committees (CCCs) across the country.  The non-financial services Pobal and the CCCs provide include the deployment of Development Coordinators to services, along with advice on governance, management and operational matters.

As I mentioned previously, it is unfortunately not possible for my Department to provide direct financial assistance to private childcare services at present. However, I would recommend that all services who find themselves in a crisis situation contact their local CCC or Pobal immediately seeking their assistance. Pobal has a dedicated team that assess services experiencing crisis situations and may be able to provide non-financial assistance or support.


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