Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Early Childhood Care and Education

Photo of Jennifer WhitmoreJennifer Whitmore (Wicklow, Social Democrats)
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623. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he will review a case (details supplied) regarding an age exemption for a child attending ECCE due to additional educational needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31912/22]

Photo of Roderic O'GormanRoderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme is a universal two-year pre-school programme available to all children within the eligible age range.

A child must have reached 2 years and 8 months of age on or prior to 31 August of the relevant programme year to be eligible for the September start date and a child cannot turn 5 years and 6 months of age during the course of the ECCE programme year.

Overage exemptions are available in certain exceptional circumstances for children who will be over 5 years and 6 months by the end of the ECCE term.

With regard to the child referred to by the Deputy, the application to permit him to remain in ECCE for the 2022-23 programme year has been accepted following the submission of a recommendation from a Senior Medical Officer in the HSE.

Photo of Jennifer WhitmoreJennifer Whitmore (Wicklow, Social Democrats)
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624. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the number and percentage of ECCE services that have signed up to the transition fund; if this information is available by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31916/22]

Photo of Roderic O'GormanRoderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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The Transition Fund is intended to provide financial support to Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) providers in the period of time between the end of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme in April and the introduction of the new Core Funding from September.

The Transition Fund will make a payment to providers between 2nd May and 31st August 2022. The primary conditionality is that the service will not impose any increases to the Registered Fees List that was in place on 30thSeptember 2021. This means that the full affordability effects of the NCS and ECCE programmes are felt by parents.

I am pleased that, as of 20th of June, 4,060 services have signed up to the Transition Fund, which represents 94% of eligible services. Of these, 3,638 or 90% are contracted to deliver the ECCE programme.

Please find below, a list of the ECCE contracted services signed up to Transition Funding broken down by county.

Carlow – 43

Cavan – 62

Clare – 115

Cork – 341

Donegal – 138

Dublin – 893

Galway – 233

Kerry – 118

Kildare – 162

Kilkenny – 83

Laois – 73

Leitrim – 28

Limerick – 157

Longford – 30

Louth – 101

Mayo – 111

Meath – 169

Monaghan – 57

Offaly – 54

Roscommon – 53

Sligo – 63

Tipperary – 151

Waterford – 82

Westmeath – 70

Wexford – 112

Wicklow - 139

A list of services participating in the Transition Fund is available here: first5fundingmodel.gov.ie/core-funding/.

I am encouraged that the high uptake of providers participating in the Transition Fund bodes well for the future of the sector as we move towards greater public investment and public management, and the introduction of Core Funding in September.

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