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Budget 2021 information for parents

1. What is changing for families on the National Childcare Scheme (NCS)?

There are two changes to the NCS which will result in more parents getting more subsidised hours of
early learning and childcare in Tulsa registered services. All centre-based early learning and care providers are registered with Tulsa. Suitable qualified childminders can also register with Tulsa, which
will give parents using their service access to NCS subsidies.
1.1. Extension of the universal NCS subsidy
The universal NCS subsidy provides €0.50 per hour towards the cost of a registered early learning and childcare place, for a maximum of 45 hours per week. This is worth up to €1, 170 off your annual early
learning and childcare costs.
The universal subsidy is not means tested – all parents can claim it. Following this Budget, the universal subsidy will be made available to all families with children under 15 years of age under this
(currently the universal subsidy is available to children before they start ECCE, the universal pre-school
programme).
This change will be introduced in September 2022.
1.2. Change in practice of deducting hours spent in pre-school from the entitlement to subsidized NCS hours?
There will be a change in practice of deducting hours spent in pre-school or school from the entitlement to subsidized NCS hours. This means that you will be able to use you full awarded subsidized NCS hours regardless of whether your children are in pre-school or school. If your award is for 20 hours and your child is in school for more than 20 hours a week you will be able to use your NCS hours for 20 hours of after-school care per week during the school term.
This change will be introduced in 2022, the date has not yet been finalized, but your early learning and childcare provider will be able to let you know when the change is introduced.
The following table shows the hours available for you to use throughout the year when this change is
implemented compared to what is currently available.
What will it mean if I am standard hours? That is where all parents/guardian in the household are not in work or study?
Age/education stage of child Current maximum hours per week of
subsidy
Hours available to use year
round
Prior to qualification for ECCE 20 hours (term time) 20 hours (non term) 20 hours
Qualifying for ECCE and not yet in
school 5 hours (term time) 20 hours (non term) 20 hours
Junior or senior infant classes in
primary school 0 hours 20 hours
First to sixth class in primary
schools 0 hours 20 hours
What will it mean if I am on enhanced hours? That is where all parents/guardians in the household are in
work or study?
Age/education stage of child Current maximum hours per week of
subsidy
New maximum hours per week of subsidy year round
Prior to qualification for ECCE 45 hours (term time) 45 hours (non term) 45 hours
Qualifying for ECCE and not yet in
school 30 hours (term time) 45 hours (non term) 45 hours
Junior or senior infant classes in
primary school 23 hours (term time) 45 hours (non term) 45 hours
First to sixth class in primary
school 17 hours (term time) 45 hours (non term) 45 hours
1.3 How do I apply for the NCS?
All families with children under the age of 15 in registered early learning or childcare can apply for
NCS subsidies. You can find information on www.ncs.gov.ie. You can apply online or by post. If you
are applying online you will need
– A verified MyGovID account
– The date of birth and Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) for each of the children you are
applying for
If you apply by post you will need to ring the NCS Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530 and request
a postal application form. You can ring them between 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.
1.4 If I am already receiving NCS subsidies but they are lower than the new 50 cent per hour
universal subsidy – do I need to reapply?
No you won’t. Any award increasing as a consequence of this change will be automatically applied.
Anyone with an award below 50 cent will be raised to that amount and other awards may see some
small increases on foot of this new minimum.
1.5 If I am already receiving NCS subsidies, do I have to apply for additional hours when the practice
of deducting hours spent in pre-school or school from the entitlement to subsidised NCS hours
changes?
If you are already getting an NCS subsidy, you will receive an email when this change is introduced.
Your provider will then be able to register you for the new hours and you will then be able to confirm
those hours in the same you have for your original registration.
This change will be introduced in 2022. The date has not yet been finalised.


2. CHILDMINDERS
2.1 My children go to a childminder, can I get any help with costs?
All early learning and childcare providers, whether centre-based or childminders working in their own
homes, who register with Tusla can take part in Department funding schemes, including the NCS which
provides subsidies to early learning and childcare fees.
Currently few childminders have registered with Tusla as most childminders are outside the scope of
regulations and registration. In April 2021 the Department published the National Action Plan for
Childminding, which sets out a phased and incremental approach to bringing all non-relative
childminders within the scope of regulation and support. The National Action Plan commits to
introducing childminder-specific regulations and opening up the National Childcare Scheme to
childminders within 2-3 years.
Further information about childminding, the National Action Plan and the National Childcare Scheme
is available from your local County Childcare Committee.
3 New funding scheme
3.1 Will the new funding scheme reduce my early learning and childcare costs?
Parents whose children attend services that are signed up to the new funding stream will benefit from
improved affordability.
Participating services will commit, from September 2022, not to increase their fees from September
2021 levels.
This means that parents will not be faced with fee increases, and the full affordability effects of the
NCS, and the universal ECCE Pre-school Programme, will be felt by parents

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