Dear Colleague,

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the invaluable role you play in the care and education of our nation’s children. As a Tusla-registered childcare provider, you supply a vital service to parents and families throughout the country who are entrusting their children to your expert care and attention.

I want to assure you that one of my key priorities is to ensure that Ireland can move from having one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world to having one of the best – for childcare providers as well as for children and parents.

That is why I am delighted to be able to tell you in advance about our plans to make More Affordable Childcare a reality starting from September.

This is our first step towards the introduction of the new Affordable Childcare Scheme, the comprehensive new scheme of financial support for families towards the cost of their childcare, which was made possible through funding secured in Budget 2017.

The Affordable Childcare Scheme will eventually combine all the existing targeted childcare schemes, including the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) and the Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) Schemes, into one easy-to-use and more efficient online system.

As part of this first step, more affordable childcare will be secured for all families with children between the ages of 6 months and 36 months in Tusla-registered childcare services. Greatly enhanced childcare subsidies will also be offered to low income families; in many cases significantly decreasing the level of co-payment required and hence supporting families to access childcare supports.

Here’s what you need to know:

• Measures introduced this September will provide both universal and targeted subsidies towards the cost of childcare.
• Every child between the ages of 6 months and 36 months in Tusla-registered childcare services will be eligible for some level of childcare support.
• The child can be in full or part-time registered childcare. There will be no minimum number of hours and no maximum number of weeks for eligibility.
• The financial supports will be provided directly to you as the Tusla-registered childcare provider.
• Existing targeted childcare supports provided under the CCS and TEC Schemes will be enhanced significantly, some by up to 50%.
• All Tusla-registered childcare providers, community and private, can sign up to provide these Schemes.

Enclosed you will find a booklet outlining the key changes to these Schemes. We have also briefed your City/County Childcare Committee on the plan to make childcare more affordable. Please contact your Childcare Committee if you have any questions. They will be happy to help you.

In addition, my Department will be hosting information events over the coming weeks in a number of locations throughout the country.

We want as many children and families as possible to access these childcare supports when they become available from September.

Once you have had time to read the material provided and understand what is on offer, I would be very grateful if you could display the poster and leaflets included with this letter in your service from June onwards so that families can become more familiar with the childcare supports that they may be eligible for.

I am also very aware of the demands and restrictions under which you work so I am committed to ensuring that all childcare supports are more user-friendly – freeing you to do the really important work you do – educating children.

Our new website has a dedicated section for childcare providers. It has information on eligibility, subsidy rates and how to sign up for these Schemes.

Thank you once again for all the amazing work you do. With your help and support, we can help ensure that families of up to 70,000 children can start to feel the bene t of more affordable childcare from September.

I look forward to working with you to make this happen.

With best regards,
Dr. Katherine Zappone TD,
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs