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Increase to minimum NCS subsidy rate: Co-payment recalculation and parental declarations

Dear Service Provider, NCS

Please see the below important update for ELC/SAC providers on the increase to the minimum subsidy rate for the National Childcare Scheme (NCS).

Minimum NCS subsidy increase

As previously communicated, from 2 January 2023, the minimum rate for NCS subsidies will increase from €0.50 to €1.40. The increase, which was introduced by Minister Roderic O’Gorman as part of Budget 2023 measures, means that if parents are in receipt of a subsidy which is less than the maximum, they will receive a higher subsidy towards their childcare fees.

Awards will be recalculated with this new rate and updated accordingly. This will affect existing claims. Service providers do not need to modify the claim if the hours are remaining the same. However, service providers will have to recalculate co-payment and issue new parental agreements.

Identifying affected claims

To assist with identifying which NCS claims in your service have been impacted, a new page called ‘Budget 2023 Claims affected’ will be available on the Early Years Hive from 25 November. This page will be under the Registration menu on Hive and will display the claims that will change during the uplift process. Please note that the uplift process may take up to 10 days from 25 November and not all of the claims will be available on this page from day one. 

Please see the how-to guide here for more information on this new page.

Parental agreement

To assist with this additional administrative work, from 2 December, you will be able to print out Parental Agreements for NCS directly from the Hive. This new feature will be available on the ‘Parental Agreement and Co-payment” section of NCS claims on the NCS registrations page. Once you have calculated the co-payment for an NCS claim, the Parental Agreement will include all co-payment weekly amounts, the child’s name, the claim to and from date etc. this will be available to download and print from this page. Further information on this new feature will be available later next week. 

Please see the how-to guide here for more information on the Parental Agreement.

Regards,
The Early Years Team

Extension to Deadline for Building Blocks - Improvement Grant Applications

Dear Service Providerdeadline extension

Building Blocks - Improvement Grant applications opened on the 28 October 2022.

The closing date for applications has been extended to Friday 16 December 2022 at 5pm.

There will be no further extension to this date, and it will not be possible to submit late applications.

When submitting your application, please ensure you have attached all required documents from the following checklist:

  Checklist of Documents
1 Professional Report (Mandatory for Strand A)
2 Planning Permission, if required for Strand A only
3 Rental/Lease/licence agreement, if required
4 Owner’s Permission template, if required
5 Indicative Quote Documentation
6 Evidence of Own Funding, if required
7 Additional Supporting Documentation

Please refer to the Applicant Guidelines and FAQ available on the Capital - Documents page of the Early Years Hive for support on completing the application for Building Blocks – Improvement Grant.

Submission of the Building Blocks application form should not be delayed by the e-tendering process, as only an indicative quote needs to be submitted.

Successful applicants must have completed the E-tendering process in advance of any works commencing and funding being spent.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate, where relevant, that they have completed the E- Tendering process. Applicants are advised to maintain all documentation relating to the e tendering process on file.

Applicants can contact the Early Years Provider Centre (EYPC) with any queries by raising a Service Request on Hive under the programme: Building Blocks - Improvement Grant and selecting the relevant sub-category.

PLEASE NOTE: If applicants contact Pobal with an ICT issue within 48 hours of the closing date and time, Pobal cannot guarantee that the ICT issue will be resolved in time to submit the application.

Regards,
The Early Years Team

Minister O'Gorman announces new scheme to pilot the provision of hot meals to children in early learning and childcare settings

From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth 

Published on 22 November 2022

Last updated on 18 November 2022

  • €150,000 scheme to pilot the provision a range of meal options to children, including the provision of hot meals.
  • Pilot sites will include early learning and childcare settings operating in areas of concentrated disadvantage.
  • Results from pilot scheme to inform wider work under way to develop a DEIS type model for early learning and childcare.

Roderic O'Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, today announced €150,000 in funding for a scheme to pilot the provision of meals, including hot meals, to children in early learning and childcare settings.

The pilot scheme, which is being funded under Dormant Accounts Funding, will test a range of meal options for children in early learning and childcare settings operating in areas of concentrated disadvantage. Hot Meals DCEDIY

The three meal options in the pilot scheme will be:

  • breakfast or snack
  • breakfast or snack, plus a packed lunch for children to take home
  • hot meal or snack

As well as funding, pilot settings will have the assistance of a dietician to support the selection of the meal options.

The pilot scheme will be subject to an evaluation that will include consultation with children and their families, educators and service managers.

The pilot scheme is one of a range of measures committed to under First 5, a whole-of-government strategy for babies, young children and their families, to help tackle early childhood poverty and to support children’s health, learning and development.

The results of the pilot scheme will inform decisions about wider roll out as well as work ongoing in the department to develop a DEIS-type model for early learning and childcare, which aims to provide services with a proportionate mix of universal and targeted supports to support children and families accessing their services who are experiencing disadvantage.

Pobal will support the delivery and evaluation of this pilot scheme.

In announcing the pilot scheme, Minister O’Gorman said:

Roderic OGorman

 "Early learning and childcare services work very hard every day to support children experiencing disadvantage and are uniquely placed to ensure these children can access nutritious meals and snacks – which is so important for children’s health, learning and development.

"Already, as required by regulation, children attending these services on a full-time basis are provided with two meals (one hot) and two snacks throughout the day. This covers a significant proportion of their daily food intake – as much as 70 percent.

"For children attending these services for shorter periods however, the provision of food is far more limited. Under this scheme, a range of meal options, including a hot meal, will be piloted among this cohort.

"The results of the pilot scheme is being undertaken under First 5 and as part of wider work underway in my department to develop a DEIS-type model for early learning and childcare."

 Anna Shakespeare, CEO of Pobal said:

"Pobal is delighted to partner the department on this important initiative given the impact this intervention will have on children experiencing disadvantage."

Reminder: Building Blocks - Improvement Grant application deadline 25 November at 5pm

Dear Service Provider, Building blocks Hive

Building Blocks – Improvement Grant applications opened on 28th October.  

The closing date for applications is Friday 25th November 2022 at 5pm.  Late applications will not be accepted. reminder logo

When submitting your application, please ensure you have attached all required documents from the following checklist:

  Checklist of Documents
1. Professional Report (Mandatory for Strand A)
2. Planning Permission, if required for Strand A only
3. Rental/Lease/licence agreement, if required
4. Owners Permission template, if required
5. Indicative Quote Documentation
6. Evidence of Own Funding, if required
7. Additional Supporting Documentation

Please refer to the Applicant Guidelines and FAQ available on the Capital – Documents page of the Early Years Hive for support on completing the application for Building Blocks – Improvement Grant.

Applicants can contact the Early Years Provider Centre (EYPC) with any queries by raising a Service Request on Hive under the programme: Building Blocks - Improvement Grant and selecting the relevant sub-category. 

PLEASE NOTE: If applicants contact Pobal with an ICT issue within 48 hours of the closing date and time, Pobal cannot guarantee that the ICT issue will be resolved in time to submit the application.

 

Regards, 

The Early Years Team 

Reminder - Core Funding three-week backdating window

Dear Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare Providers, reminder logo

This is a reminder that due to the extension to the backdating window, there is only a three-week window in which changes that occurred before 28 October will be backdated if they are submitted by close of business 18 November 2022. After this date, back payments will not be permitted for Core Funding.

If you have any queries, please contact the Early Years Provider Centre (EYPC) by raising a Service Request on Hive under the programme: Core Funding.

Best wishes

The Early Years Team

Better Start Quality Development Service Evaluation

Dear ELC/SAC provider,  DCEDIY logo

Better Start Quality Development Service Evaluation

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) have commissioned an independent evaluation of the Better Start Quality Development Service (QDS). Better Start QDS is a national initiative that was launched in 2015 to enhance quality practice and promote positive outcomes for children in Early Learning and Care (ELC) settings.   Better Start

The evaluation aims to better understand the Better Start QDS, whether it contributes to improved quality of practice and positive outcomes, and if there are any areas for improvement. It is an independent evaluation that is being carried out by the Centre for Effective Services (CES) and Marino Institute of Education (MIE).   

CES and MIE recently launched a short, confidential online survey exploring services’ experiences with Better Start QDS. A link to this survey has been shared with all services who have engaged with QDS since 2015. We would like to thank all the service providers who have participated to date, and encourage any who have not yet completed the survey to do so when possible. This survey is an important part of the evaluation and will inform our understanding of Better Start QDS, as well as any areas for future development and investment. 

We understand this can be a very busy time in the sector and appreciate all those who volunteer their time to assist with the evaluation.  

Kind regards

The Early Years Team

Core Funding - Extension to the backdating window

Dear Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare Providers,deadline extension

The deadline to submit a Core Funding Application change that occurred before 28th October and receive backdated payment has been extended to Friday 18th November 2022. Following this date, Providers will continue to be able to make updates and changes to their Core Funding Application Module however back payments will not be permitted.

Please note that providers who have not had any changes to their application information since it was submitted do not need to take any further action at this time.

To assist services in submitting an application change, new training videos are available on Early Years Hive:

  • Core Funding Application Change - Amending a Session Type Error (days/hours)
  • Core Funding Application Change - Replacing a Vacancy
  • Core Funding Application Change - Amending a Capacity Error
  • Core Funding Application Changes - Departing Staff Member

You can find these videos under the ‘Core Funding Training Videos’ heading on the Core Funding Documents page.

CCCs and EYPC also remain available to assist with Core Funding Application Changes.

Best wishes,
The Early Years Team.

Invitation to submit and Expression of Interest to take part in Aistear and Play CPD IN 2023

Dear Service Provider,Aistear invite 14 11 2022

What is Aistear & Play CPD?

Aistear & Play CPD is part of the National Síolta Aistear Initiative (NSAI) a collaboration between Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Inclusion and Youth (DCEDIY), Department of Education (DE), Better Start National Early Years Quality Development & the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). The purpose of the NSAI is to support the implementation of our two National Frameworks-Síolta and Aistear. From spring 2019, the Aistear & Play has been delivered in partnership with the Better Start Quality Development Service (QDS).

This CPD is an eligible activity for your Core Funding Quality Action Plan. Settings are invited to complete an Expression of Interest to take part in the course in 2023.

To register your interest, click here https://forms.office.com/r/JkXzHUie2A and click on submit when the form is completed. The closing date to submit the form is 30th November.

Kind Regards

The Early Years Team

Early Years Calendars

Service providers are reminded changes to service calendars must be first approved by CCCs, and that parents must be given 20 working days’ notice in writing of any change to the service’s calendar, and Calendar 2022 copies of such notices must be kept on file.

For further information on service calendars, please contact your local CCC or refer to the guidance available on the Early Years Hive.

Kind regards,

The Early Years Team

HSE memo on RSV Infection

Dear Provider, RSV infection

We are writing to you today in relation to a memo on RSV infection; a respiratory virus which causes Bronchiolitis in young children, which the HSE have requested we circulate.

Please find the Memo below and poster to display if required.

 

Kind regards,
Early Years Comms
An Roinn Leanaí, Comhionannais, Míchumais, Lánpháirtíochta agus Óige
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

 DCEDIY logo
 
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