Childhood Services Ireland, the Ibec group representing the Irish childcare sector, has cautiously welcomed the Department of Children’s funding arrangements for the childcare sector up to March 5.
The group says that while there are a number of critical areas where further detail from the Department is urgently needed for providers to make informed decisions, the package should see providers through the next six weeks.
Under the terms of the funding arrangements, services which remain open will continue to receive 100% of their NCS and other legacy scheme funding, 70% of ECCE funding, and continue to receive the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) at the enhanced rate.
Childcare providers who remain open may also receive the remaining ECCE funding and an additional Covid Support Payment if they are deemed eligible. Details of the eligibility criteria, however, have not yet been disclosed by the Department.
ECCE services which remain closed in February and services which are closed with approval by the Department will continue to receive the EWSS at the enhanced rate and may also receive 100% of their NCS and other legacy scheme funding, 70% of ECCE funding, and a Covid Support Payment if they adhere to certain conditions.
Commenting on the Department’s package, Childhood Services Ireland Director, Darragh Whelan, said; ‘’We have been working extremely hard with the Department of Children on these funding arrangements for the past few weeks, and we are cautiously welcoming it. The childcare sector is fully committed to playing its part in helping our healthcare workers through this crisis, and this arrangement will enable us to do so. There are outstanding uncertainties on which we are working with the Department to seek clarity. However, t this arrangement should see the childcare providers through the next six weeks until the restrictions begin to ease on March 5th.
Darragh went on to say: ‘’Our focus now is on helping childcare providers remain open for the children of frontline and essential workers and vulnerable children. In parallel, we need to begin planning for what will happen after March 5th, when we will hopefully see childcare services reopening fully.’’
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