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Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D. Launches Early Years Sector Profile Report 2017/2018

Early yeaars sector profile report 2018 2018Minister Katherine Zappone launched the Early Years Sector Profile Report 2017/2018 on November 29th, developed and published by Pobal for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA). The comprehensive findings are based on the largest ever survey of the early years sector, with responses from a total of 3,928 childcare services (88% of childcare facilities) providing significant insight into current childcare numbers, fees, staff qualifications and wages.

Overall, there are estimated to be 202,600 children attending early years services nationwide (an increase of 9%). While the total capacity within the sector has grown by approximately 6%, this has not kept pace with increased demand, with the total number of vacant childcare places reducing by 31%.

Nationally, the cost of a full-time childcare place has increased by just below €4 (to €177.92), compared to a €7 increase last year. Over the last 12 months, fee increases have been more prevalent in community based services and in those located in rural areas. Despite this increase, fees remain more expensive in affluent areas, in cities, and in private facilities.

Currently, the childcare sector employs over 29,500 staff, almost 26,000 of whom work with children. The average qualification level of childcare staff has increased, with 65% to Level 6 (up 2%). The 2017/2018 report also revealed 47% of all staff work part-time, 3% less than last year. On average, staff working with children earn €12.17 per hour; almost half of these are early year’s assistants, earning an average of €11.20 per hour. The staff turnover rate in the last 12 months was 24.7%, down slightly from 28% the previous year.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D. formally launched the report and speaking at the event said:

“We are experiencing a period of transformative change in the Early Learning and Care sector in Ireland. Over 200,000 children attended an early learning and care setting last year; an experience that will impact these children positively as they make their way through life. More than 84,000 benefited from the enhanced measures introduced last year.

The new subsidies we introduced last year have stabilised the cost of childcare, which has only grown by 2% this year and the new Affordable Childcare Scheme will launch in late 2019. Investment in childcare has grown 117% over recent budgets and these figures show that this is working.

The number of staff working in the sector has grown by 8% to nearly 30,000 and we welcome the nearly 100 new services delivering our schemes this year; improving access to quality early learning across the country.”

Denis Leamy, Pobal CEO added:

“Once again, the Early Years Sector Profile Report, developed and published by Pobal has revealed important findings, analysis and key insights into the early years sector. The responses received from our colleagues in the early years sector, allow for the formulation of accurate and dependable analysis, highlighting existing opportunities and challenges. Pobal are proud to produce this important publication on an annual basis and we are mindful of the significance of the report and how key findings are used to inform and guide future developments and policy within the sector”.

The detailed report, presents an overview of the early years sector in Ireland for the programme year 2017/2018. Report analysis is based on survey responses received in late April and early May 2018 and supplemented with information available from the national childcare ICT system – ‘Programme Implementation Platform’ (PIP).

Responses also demonstrated that, nine in ten children who are currently attending early years services receive funding from one of the three DCYA funded programmes (ECCE, Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) / Training and Employment Childcare programmes (TEC)). During the programme year, over 185,500 children were supported by programmes, an increase of 24% on the previous year. The report also found, 7% of children attending early years services had additional needs.

The Early Years Sector Profile Report 2017/2018 is available HERE

CPD Payment Update

PobalLogoCPD Payments will be issued to all services for participants who completed Hanen and/or Lámh trainings between August 2018 and 24th of November 2018 no later than 21st of December 2018.

Payment for those participants that complete trainings after the 24th of November 2018 will be issued at a later date.

Please note that each staff member can avail of a maximum of 18 hours of paid CPD training per calendar year and payments are calculated on this basis. Payments for all participants will be made to the employer/ childcare setting and NOT to the individual. Re-imbursement by way of payment or time worked is the responsibility of the employer.
The rate of payment is €13 per hour.

Early Years and School Age Capital 2018 RESERVE LIST Announcement

PobalLogoThe Department of Children and Youth Affairs are pleased to announce that additional funds have been secured to fund a number of applications that were previously placed on the reserve list.

Pobal has sent out notification emails to the services that were on the reserve list and that have been successful in securing funding. Unfortunately if you have not received a notification email from Pobal at this time, it means that you will now not be funded under the Early Years and School Age Capital 2018 grant.

If you have additional queries in relation to the reserve list please contact Pobal online support at, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PIP System Maintenance – Thursday 22nd November, 2018

System Maintenance – Thursday 22nd November., 2018PobalLogo

On Thursday 22nd November, Pobal will be undertaking necessary maintenance of our systems between 7pm and 11pm.
There will be no access to the PIP Portal during this period.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

DCYA Announcement

The Early Years Division of DCYA intends to publish a monthly electronic bulletin to all early years services in contract to deliver government childcare schemes. The e-Bulletin will update on dcyalogo
operational matters relating to the administration of the Department's schemes and initiatives.

In the first instance this e-Bulletin will issue to the email supplied by the Primary Authorised User in each service. A facility will be available to unsubscribe from this service and for other interested staff members to subscribe should they wish to do so. To read DCYA's full privacy notice, please click HERE If you have any queries please contact mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PIP: AIM Level 7 Payment

The next AIM Level 7 payment is due on the 7th December 2018. This payment will represent a further 12.5% of the AIM Level 7 contract value and will bring cumulative payments to 50% of the contract value.

Please note in order for a payment to be made, there must be an approved childcare registration on PIP by close of business Tuesday 27th November in relation to each child in receipt of AIM Level 7 support. The child’s registration must correlate to the level of support awarded i.e. no. of days/weeks.PobalLogo

If you require any clarification on the above, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Government launches First 5, A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families

The Government has today unveiled ‘First 5’, Ireland’s first ever cross-Departmental strategy to support babies, young children and their families.dcyalogo

The ambitious ten-year plan will deliver:

1. A broader range of options for parents to balance working and caring
2. A new model of parenting support
3. New developments in child health, including a dedicated child health workforce
4. Reform of the Early Learning and Care (ELC) system, including a new funding model
5. A package of measures to tackle early childhood poverty

The Strategy was jointly launched by the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone, Minister for Health, Simon Harris, TD, and Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD.

Also in attendance were representatives from the various Government Departments and State Agencies tasked with implementation. The launch coincided with a play morning at the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to mark the launch of First 5 and celebrate World Children’s Day.

Speaking at today’s launch, the Taoiseach said:  “The Government wants to make life easier for families, while also providing children with the best possible start. The first five years of a child’s life only happen once, but the impact of their experiences during this period can last a lifetime. For this reason, the Government has developed the ‘First 5’ Strategy.

“This is the first strategy of its kind in Ireland, setting out a road map for change and development over the coming decade. Building on the many positive developments for young children in recent years, including family leave, subsidised Early Learning and Care, free GP care and a new Children’s Hospital, First 5 will significantly enhance early childhood in Ireland.”

There are five major areas of action in which the Strategy will drive change - the First 5 Big Steps. These are:

1. Access to a broader range of options for parents to balance working and caring led by the Departments of Justice and Equality and Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
In order to support children to spend more time with their parents, especially in the first year, First 5 sets out plans to develop a new parental leave scheme. This will deliver extended entitlements to paid leave for both fathers and mothers. Minister Doherty will also develop a hot meals initiative for children in disadvantaged schools.

Speaking before today’s launch, Minister Doherty said:

“I was particularly pleased to recently introduce a new parental benefit scheme which will allow both parents to access an additional two weeks leave in the first year of their child’s life. Over the coming years, it the Government’s intention to extend this entitlement to 7 weeks per parent. This initiative allows us to respond to the vital need to support parents of young children and recognises the formative nature of the first year of a child’s life.

“Additionally, in the context of today’s Strategy, I will also be providing additional funding for a hot school meals pilot programme to commence next year. Research shows us the value of the provision of adequate and nutritious meals for a child’s health, learning, attention and educational achievement. I will be establishing a pilot programme for a hot meals scheme in DEIS primary schools to provide hot dinners for up to some 7,200 children. If successful, I would hope to work with the Department of Education and Skills (DES) in extending the scheme on a much wider basis in future years and establish the scheme on a permanent basis.”

2 New developments in child health

First 5 sets out new measures to promote positive health behaviours and the mental health of babies, young children and their families, and to enhance the National Healthy Childhood Programme.

“We know that good physical and mental health in the early years is essential for children’s experiences and for their later outcomes. Positive experiences in early childhood mean reduced incidence of heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and depression. There is no doubt that investment in health promotion and health services in the early years pay dividends for children, families, and for the health service. This is a fundamental part of creating a Healthy Ireland, giving every child the best start in life.” Minister Harris said.

Minister Harris also announced plans to develop a dedicated child health workforce, focussed initially in areas of high population density and disadvantage. This, Minister Harris said:“will increase the capacity of the HSE to provide health promotion and prevention and early intervention services for the benefit all babies and young children”.

3. A new model of parenting support led by a new Parenting Unit established by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs

First 5 streamlines and improves existing parenting supports provided across a range of Government Departments and State Agencies. Accessible, high-quality information and guidance will be made available for parents to promote healthy behaviours, facilitate positive play-based early learning and create the conditions to form and maintain strong parent-child relationships. A continuum of parenting services – ranging from universal to targeted - including high-quality parenting programmes, will also be made available.

At today’s event, Minister Zappone said:

“Experts, including children themselves, recognise the essential role played by families in nurturing healthy child development. That is why strengthening families is at the heart of this Strategy.

Alongside greater opportunities to balance work and home life through parental leave and flexible working, First 5 develop a new national model of parenting supports, ranging from universal to targeted - making parenting supports and high quality programmes more accessible to all families for the first time”

4. Reform of the Early Learning and Care (ELC) system led by the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs and Education and Skills

First 5 builds on the very significant developments in ELC over recent years and seeks to further improve affordability, accessibility and quality. Measures include introducing the Affordable Childcare Scheme, moving progressively towards a graduate-led professional ELC workforce and the extension of regulations and supports to all paid childminders and school-age childcare services.

Under this, Minister Zappone announced her plans to at least double investment in ELC over the next decade building on the unprecedented 117% increase in investment in ELC that has been secured over the last four years.

“More funding, even if it reaches these record levels, is only part of the answer,” the Minister warned. “We must ensure public funding is allocated efficiently, fairly and that it is targeted in the correct manner to deliver the best results for children.

This additional investment will continue to reduce the out of pocket cost of ELC to parents. It will compensate providers so that they can deliver ELC on a sustainable and high-quality basis. Importantly, it will be used to attract and retain a well-qualified workforce, enabling continued professional development across their career and creating more supportive working conditions so that the workforce feel valued”.

This will be achieved through a radical reform of the funding model for ELC with work commencing on that model to commence in early 2019.  These measures will coincide with developments in the primary education sector. At the launch, Minister Mitchell O’Connor asserted a commitment to working with Minister Zappone on raising the quality of ELC and supporting children’s the transition to primary education.

“As an educator, having been a school principal in a previous life, I know only too well the importance of a smooth educational continuum for all children as they move from their pre-schools into school. It is imperative that we continue to work with professionals and agencies in both the early learning and care sector and the primary school sector to make absolutely sure this transition is supported.

The most important person in this equation is the child. Our role is to ensure that all children experience high quality, age appropriate learning opportunities wherever they are, in settings, schools or at home. Our experts in the NCCA and in the Inspectorate are a hugely important voice in articulating how very young children’s learning and development is supported through play based and emergent child-led curriculums.”

5. A package of measures to tackle early childhood poverty

First 5 identifies new measures that will address poverty in early childhood, including expanded access to free and subsidised ELC, extensions to the Warmth and Well-Being and Warmer Homes Schemes and the introduction of a meals programme and DEIS-type model for ELC settings.

“Tackling inequalities that can emerge in early childhood are critical is if are to give all children the best start in life” Minister Zappone said. “Children deserve a happy and fulfilled childhood. By introducing measures to tackle early childhood poverty, we will give children a strong and equal start”.

The implementation of First 5 will be overseen by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. A detailed implementation plan will be published in the coming months.

New Affordable Childcare Scheme to open for applications in October 2019

New Affordable Childcare Scheme to open for applications in October 201919875672 1337059526348124 484620879276509836 n

  • Existing childcare subsidy schemes to remain in place for 2019/20 programme year, ensuring certainty for families and ‘continuity of care’ for children
  • Comprehensive information and training supports to be rolled out from early 2019 offering a supported transition period for families and childcare providers

Tuesday 6th November 2018

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, has announced that the new Affordable Childcare Scheme will open for applications in mid- October 2019, with payments flowing from November 2019.
The scheme will offer a single, easy to access system of financial subsidies towards childcare for families in Ireland. Through this, it will enhance affordability and accessibility, and provide a platform for investment in quality childcare to benefit current and future generations.

“I have been steadfast in my commitment to deliver the crucial change that families need, and so I am delighted to be able to announce the timeframe for the introduction of the new Affordable Childcare Scheme” commented Minister Zappone.

“We are building the radical new childcare infrastructure needed to transform childcare in Ireland from one of the most expensive in the world into one of the very best. This involves putting in place a legislative framework, through the Childcare Support Act 2018, and building a world class IT system to allow parents to access tailored childcare supports that will meet the needs of each family. By lowering childcare costs, the Affordable Childcare Scheme aims to support parents to return to work and training, to reduce child poverty and to improve child outcomes.”

From October 2019 everyone will be able to apply for the new Affordable Childcare Scheme. To ensure a smooth transition for both parents and providers, the current childcare subsidy schemes will remain in place for the 2019/20 programme year. People will be able to register for the current schemes as normal, from August 2019 up until the new Affordable Childcare Scheme launches. After the launch date, people can choose to move over to the new Scheme or to remain on their old scheme for the remainder of the programme year. This will provide certainty for current scheme beneficiaries, offer ample time to apply for the new scheme and ensure that no family is worse off during the transition period. Once the Affordable Childcare Scheme is in place in October 2019, registrations under the existing schemes will cease.

Comprehensive information, training and supports will be available to parents, childcare providers and other stakeholders from early next year in readiness for the launch of the scheme.

Enhancements to the Affordable Childcare Scheme announced as part of Budget 2019 will mean that an even greater number of families will now benefit from the scheme. The significant increase in the maximum net income threshold to €60,000 per annum means that an estimated 7,500 additional children will benefit from the scheme relative to the original proposals, including some families with gross income of up to €100,000 per annum. Over 40,000 other children, already eligible, will see increases to their subsidies.

Childcare providers, who play an integral role in the delivery of all of the DCYA childcare schemes, will continue to receive a Programme Support Payment (PSP) in 2019. Budget 2019 provided funding of €19.4m for PSP, an increase of nearly 8%, which will bring the total amount of PSP paid to childcare providers since 2017 to over €55m in recognition of the administrative support they offer in delivering the schemes’ benefits to parents.

Further information relating to the launch of the scheme will be made available at over the coming months. Families can also find information on the website in relation to existing supports to make childcare more affordable in Ireland.

CCS Bands 2018 Approval

The CCS bands have now been awarded to CCS 2018 registrations and the registrations have been approved.PobalLogo

Please review the bands awarded. Your CCS 2018 contract value will now match the total of your approved registrations and your payment schedule will adjust accordingly.

The band appeals window is now open until 31/12/2018

Where the parent and child eligibility is based on medical card, GP visit card or DEASP allowance, the band currently awarded is based on our checks on the HSE & DEASP databases.
Where eligibility is based on PHN referral, Tusla referral, employment programme or CCS verification form, the band currently awarded is based on the eligibility documents submitted with the registration.

What happens where the approved band is lower than the requested band?

Pobal will now review the registrations where the band awarded is lower than the band requested by you. If any documents are attached to such registrations, we will review these documents to determine if they provide further evidence of eligibility during the eligibility window (10/09/2018 – 12/10/2018). Where a document provides this evidence, we will amend the band.

Where a document does not provide this evidence or where no document is attached, we will provide information to you in the registration’s status comment. In the status comment we will inform you of what the band approved is based on and what document should be submitted to be awarded the higher band requested. Before submitting any documents, please ensure they meet the criteria outlined in the CCS Supporting Documentation Guidelines 2018-2019 on the PIP Portal. The appeal documents can be attached as an “Appeal” registration request.
Please be aware, that it will take us several days to review all of these registrations.

Please note that band A was requested on many registrations, but band AJ was awarded. A medical card combined with either Jobseekers Allowance/Benefit or Supplementary Welfare Allowance will give band AJ and not band A. Before appealing please confirm with the parent, the allowance they are in receipt of.

Why is a registration still provisional?

If a CCS 2018 registration still has a provisional status, then one of the following is likely:
· The child or parent PPSN has not been validated. You should attach documents to allow the PPSN to be validated i.e. evidence of the name, PPSN and date of birth.
· The registration has overlapping dates with another registration. This “already registered” issue must be resolved before the registration can be approved.
· Our eligibility checks cannot confirm CCS eligibility and we are unable to award a band. We will now review any documents that are attached to these registrations and provide a response in the status comment or in the registration request. If you have not attached any documents, please do so now.
Again, Pobal will enter information into the registration’s status comment, to explain why the registration is provisional.

Pobal Compliance Workshop

Offaly County Childcare will host a Pobal Compliance Workshop on Thursday 22nd November in the Offaly Centre for Independent Living, Tullamore at 7.30pm.  This workshop will support services to ensure their compliance folders are in order for each of the DCYA funding programmes.  Cost is €5 per person.

Click HERE to book now.

Pobal compliance workshop

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