Written answers

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Childcare Services

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Aontú)
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149. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth his views on the Hungarian policy of the grandparent's childcare fee (details supplied); if his Department plans to introduce such a scheme here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15111/22]

Photo of Roderic O'GormanRoderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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There are currently no plans to introduce a scheme, similar to the scheme in Hungary, whereby grandparents are funded to provide early learning and childcare to grandchildren under age 3.

My Department’s main funding schemes to directly support families with the cost of early learning and childcare are the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and the National Childcare Scheme (NCS).

Only early learning and childcare services registered with Tusla can operate these funding schemes. This requirement to be registered with Tusla is a critical quality assurance measure associated with the provision of State funding for early learning and childcare supports.

In April 2021, I published the National Action Plan for Childminding - which sets out a phased approach to bringing childminders within the scope of regulation over the period 2021-2028.

The extension of regulation to childminders, which is expected to happen within the first 2-3 years of the National Action Plan, will allow parents who use childminders to also access subsidies under the National Childcare Scheme - further supporting parental choice in relation to early learning and childcare options.

In developing the plan, regulating early learning and care by relatives was considered to be out scope. This decision was informed by recommendations of an independently chaired Working Group on Reforms and Supports for the Childminding Sector.


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