Thousands of kids from lower income families to benefit from subsidy scheme changes
Thousands of children from lower income families are set to benefit from changes to the National Childcare Scheme (NCS).
The changes - announced today (Friday April 8) by the Minister for Children, Roderic O'Gorman - will ensure hours spent in pre-school or school will no longer be deducted from a family's entitlement to subsidised hours.
Minister O'Gorman said, "We know that early learning and childcare benefits all children, particularly children experiencing disadvantage. The change will ensure these children can access early learning and childcare all year round, to avail of opportunities for rest, relaxation and recreation after school as well as a nutritious meal and time to engage and socialise with their friends."
Currently, up to 20 hours of NCS subsidised hours per week are provided to parents not engaged in work or study in order to help meet early learning and childcare costs.
Where parents are employed or studying, the scheme provides an entitlement of up to 45 hours.
These subsidised weekly hours included any time children spent in pre-school (the ECCE programme) or school.
In cases where parents are neither employed nor studying, this meant access to subsidised early learning and childcare for children of pre-school and school age was only available during pre-school and school holiday periods.
The changes now ensure that's no longer the case.
Good news! From 2 May, the NCS will be expanded to help children from lower-income families to attend after-school care.— Roderic O’Gorman TD (@rodericogorman) April 8, 2022
This means that hours spent in pre-school or school will no longer be deducted from parents' entitlement to the NCS.
Funding for the change to the NCS was secured for Budget 2022 but the scheme wasn't due to be implemented until September 2022.
The minister said, "I am delighted to be introducing this change well ahead of time. This change benefit some of the most disadvantaged children in our communities."
Speaking on Twitter today, he said, "This new funding and expansion of the NCS for wrap-around care will enable parents to send their children to after-school clubs, where they can get help with their homework, play with their friends and have a meal."
The changes come into effect from May 2.
Parents who are not currently getting any NCS subsidies can get information on the scheme online here.
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