Written answers

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Childcare Services

Photo of Jennifer WhitmoreJennifer Whitmore (Wicklow, Social Democrats)
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130. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if his attention has been drawn to a number of childcare facilities that have closed down in County Wicklow due to reduced numbers attending pre-school; the efforts he is taking to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59148/21]

Photo of Roderic O'GormanRoderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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I am aware of the current challenges facing the Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare  sector caused by the ongoing pandemic. Support is available to concerned services through Case Management. My Department oversees a Case Management process through which local CCCs and Pobal work together to assess and provide support to early learning and care (ELC) and school-age childcare (SAC) services experiencing difficulties. Pobal co-ordinate the overall case management process with the CCC administering on-the-ground case management assistance. This can include help with completing and interpreting analysis of staff ratios, fee setting and cash flow, as well as more specialised advice and support appropriate to individual circumstances.

Financial supports, which may also be accessed through the Case Management process, are available for community services presenting with sustainability issues following a financial assessment by Pobal.

Normally, financial supports are only available for community services. However, there is a COVID-19 Impact Support funding strand available in 2021, which is for both Community and Private services. The funding will be available on a rolling basis throughout 2021 for eligible ELC and SAC services that require further financial assistance in addition to current support measures available and others that may be announced throughout the year.

The CCC should be the first point of contact for any service seeking support; I would therefore urge any SAC or ELC service in difficulty to contact their local CCC as soon as possible if they have not done so already.


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