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Sign language and specialised training offered to childcare centres

Sign language and specialised training offered to childcare centres “We must make childcare accessible to all”

Statement by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine ZapponeAIM Logo

Sign language, sensory integration and other specialised training are being offered free to childcare centres under a plan to make services accessible to all children, according to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.

More than 1,200 places are being made available to childcare professionals in courses on sign language, promoting language and social skills of children and specialised supports for children with complex needs.

The training is being delivered under the Government’s Access Inclusion Model (AIM) which was launched 18-months ago. Already an estimated 5,000 children have benefitted from targeted AIM supports. It is envisaged that the universal AIM supports have reached even greater numbers of children.

Announcing the new places Minister Zappone added:  “If we are to develop truly accessible affordable quality childcare then it must be open to every child.

Since the introduction of AIM we have made great strides to ensure children with disabilities can participate in free pre-school education alongside their friends. Now we are taking another important step.  We are offering free specialised training to the practitioners who deliver childcare in our communities. Over 1,200 places are being provided representing an investment of €500,000.  There will be training in Lámh - the manual sign system used by children and adults with intellectual disability and communication needs in Ireland.

In addition training is being provided on the internationally renowned Hanen Learning Language and Loving It Programme. This programme was designed to help all children in the classroom build language and social skills, no matter what their learning and communication styles are, including children with additional needs.

There will also be online training in sensory integration.  These courses together with further developments in the AIM programme which I will confirm shortly represent a significant investment in improving the quality and accessibility of childcare.

They will benefit children in every part of our country.

Our work to turn one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world into the best will continue in 2018.”

Programme Support Payment (PSP), December 2017

PobalLogoA PSP payment has been made this week to services delivering the More Affordable Childcare Measures (Community Childcare Subvention (CCS and CCSP), Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) programmes for the 2017/2018 programme year. Payments have been calculated as follows:

CCSP (including CCSU and CCSRT)
- The payment is based on the maximum approved registrations at any point from 21st Aug (when registrations commenced) to 30th November. No adjustment to the PSP calculation will be made as a result of any band changes or additional registrations after 30th November.
- Calculations are subject to session types i.e. full time/part time/ sessional and band profiles – A/AJ/B/D
- All payments equal the value of a full 7 days attendance.

TEC
- The payment is based on the maximum approved registrations at any point from 28th Aug (when registrations commenced) to 30th November.
- Calculations are subject to session types for full, part or sessional rates.
- All payments equal the value of a full 7 days attendance.
- Payments will be made per approval strand, i.e., if you avail of all four strands you should receive 4 different payments.

CCS
- The payment is based on the maximum approved registrations for the snapshot period (18th September – 13th October). After the band appeal window closes, Pobal will calculate any relevant adjustments to the PSP. Any additional PSP due to a successful band appeal will be dependent on the availability of funding in the 2018 budget.
- Calculations are subject to session types i.e. full time/part time/ sessional and band profiles – A/AJ/B/D
- All payments equal the value of a full 7 days attendance.

50/51 Payable weeks
Paragraph 3.2.11 v. of the Rules for DCYA Childcare Funding Programmes, states that “where a childcare provider provides 50 weeks of childcare provision under CCSP, the provider will receive payments for 52 weeks on the applicable CCSP registrations”. The “applicable” registrations are the children that have been registered in CCSP 2017 in your service for a total of 50 or 51 payable weeks. As a result such registrations can only be identified at the end of the year i.e. in August 2018. The additional weeks will be calculated and paid in August 2018

Childcare Support Bill published

Childcare Support Bill published
Bill will underpin the new Affordable Childcare Scheme

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone hails Childcare Support Billas “a cornerstone for our radical new approach to childcare”

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The Childcare Support Bill 2017 has been published and will proceed through the Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming weeks. The bill is an essential element in development of the Affordable Childcare Scheme, which will provide a new approach to supporting affordable access to quality childcare in Ireland.

Once launched, the Affordable Childcare Scheme will provide financial support to help reduce the cost of childcare for parents. Through this, it aims to improve access; assist families to return to work and training; reduce child poverty; and improve outcomes for children.

“The ambition of this project is huge in scale but is of vital importance to families throughout the country. The publication of the Childcare Support Bill represents a cornerstone for our radical new approach to childcare; changes that will not only benefit families now but also future generations” said Minister Zappone.

“The publication of the bill builds on a lot of initiatives already delivered this year as we strive, step by step, to transform one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world into the best. To date additional financial childcare supports have been delivered to the families of over 64,000 children, the innovative Access and Inclusion Model for children with disabilities is up and running and free pre-school education for all 3-year olds has been extended to two years from next September.”

In addition to the Childcare Support Bill, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs also today published a Regulatory Impact Analysis of the Affordable Childcare Scheme.

Full details of the Childcare Support Bill, the Policy Paper and the Regulatory Impact Analysis on the Affordable Childcare Scheme can be found by visiting www.dcya.gov.ie or www.affordablechildcare.ie/nextsteps
The Childcare Support Bill will now proceed through the Houses of the Oireachtas over the coming months. At the same time, preparatory work is continuing apace on the other major elements of the scheme, such as the development of ICT and administrative systems.

Early Years and School Age Capital 2017 Returns

PobalLogoEarly Years and School Age Capital 2017 Returns

Please be advised, all outstanding EYC and SAC capital returns must be submitted to Pobal by the 30th of December 2017.

Any returns not submitted by that date WILL NOT receive the final 10% of the grant.

Services that do not submit returns will be subject to a funding de-commital and risk having to return the 90% of the grant that has already been paid.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs announces the commencement of all remaining provisions of the Children First Act 2015

 

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs announces the commencement of all remaining provisions of the Children First Act 2015
Statement by Dr. Katherine Zappone TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
 
Minister Katherine Zappone T.D., Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, today announced the commencement of all remaining provisions of the Children First Act 2015. These include the provisions in relation to mandatory reporting of child abuse and in relation to placing a legal obligation on organisations providing services to children to prepare and publish a Child Safeguarding Statement.

Confirming the commencement Minister Zappone said “It is 20-years since Mandatory Reporting was first proposed to protect our children. It is now a reality.

The commencement follows intense preparations and comes at a time when the budget of the Child and Family Agency Tusla is about to pass €750m for the first time.”

On 2nd October, in anticipation of full commencement of the Act, Minister Zappone, launched Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children [2017] which revises and replaces the 2011 edition of the Children First Guidance. The revised Guidance includes reference to the provisions of the Children First Act 2015 and is available on the website of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs at, www.dcya.gov.ie

Also on 2nd October, Tusla launched an accompanying suite of Children First resource documents for those individuals and organisations who will acquire legal obligations under the Children First Act 2015. Tusla also launched a comprehensive 90 minute basic Children First e-learning programme, which is now being made universally available on line, free of charge. The Tusla suite of Children First resource materials and information on access to the e-learning programme is available at www.tusla.ie.

In relation to reporting of child abuse, the Minister urged anyone with a reasonable concern about a child’s welfare to report their concern to Tusla. “Under the Children First Guidance, everyone should be aware of the possibility of child abuse, and should report reasonable concerns to Tusla.  The mandatory reporting requirements now coming into force supplement this by placing a legal obligation on certain categories of persons to report serious abuse to Tusla”. Tusla has created 17 dedicated contact points across the country for the receipt of reports, the details of which are on Tusla’s website.  In circumstances of greater urgency, mandated reporters can phone Tusla in advance of making such a report. The Minister stressed that under no circumstances should a child be left in a situation that exposes him or her to harm, or risk of harm, pending intervention by Tusla, stating that “If you think the child is in immediate danger and you cannot contact Tusla, you should contact the Gardaí”.

In relation to organisations working with children, the Minister acknowledged and commended all those who work so hard to make sure that every child they interact with is cared for, supported and protected. The Minister stated that the obligations on organisations providing services for children now being commenced, namely, keeping the child safe from harm, carrying out a risk assessment and preparing and publishing a Child Safeguarding Statement, are putting best practice on a statutory basis, and will contribute to continually improving safeguarding of children, in all settings.

The Minister encouraged all those working with children to familiarise themselves with their obligations under the Act, through the information and support resources being made available by her Department and by Tusla. She added: “We all share the same goal – to make Ireland a safer place for our most vulnerable citizens, our children”.

Parents of Children with Disabilities to be consulted on proposed changes to ‘overage exemption’ in free pre-school programme Planned changes to exemption paused to allow for full consultation

dcyalogoStatement by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone

Parents of children with disabilities are to be consulted on plans to change current rules of the free pre-school programme, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.

Minister Zappone says while the proposals were intended to ensure optimal outcomes for children with a disability could be achieved, she has also been contacted by many parents concerned about the impact of the changes.

The Minister says these concerns deserve careful consideration – and while the consultation takes place the proposals for children with disabilities which were due to start in September 2018 will be paused.

Minister Zappone added:

“Everyone is entitled to be heard as we continue our path to truly accessible affordable quality childcare – that is the very core of my approach.

It is an approach which has delivered extra supports for 64,000 children, the establishment of the innovative Access and Inclusion Model for children with disabilities and the delivery of two full years of free pre-school education for all 3-year olds from next September.

Each of these steps have been welcomed. Our childcare policies are focussed on bringing best international practice to Ireland and that was the motivation behind planned changes to the free pre-school or ECCE programme.

The changes were based on expert advice from the disability, education and other sectors that the ‘overage exemption’ in the free pre-school programme was no longer needed – and did not serve the best interests of these children. They pointed to the fact that all children benefit from starting school with their peers, including those children with a disability, and progressing to secondary school with their peers. They reflected Ireland's law that all children should be in school by the age of six.

However I have become increasingly aware that parents, who must be central to decisions concerning their children, are concerned about the changes planned from September 2018.

In order to ensure those concerns are responded to, I am now pausing the changes and will shortly announce a consultation whereby all voices, including those of parents of children with disabilities, can be heard.

I do not want to predict the outcome of that consultation – but I will say that its results will be central to guiding our path forward.

Our other childcare changes continue to benefit more and more families and in the coming week I will take the next step by publishing a bill which will form the legislative backbone of our radical new approach to transform one of the world’s most expensive childcare systems into the best.”

Consultation on the Draft Quality and Regulatory Framework (QRF)

24 Tusla Prevention Partnership Consultation on the Draft Quality and Regulatory Framework (QRF)

The role of the Early Years Inspectorate is to promote and monitor the quality, safety and appropriate care of children by robust inspection of the sector. In order to support service providers we have been engaged in a process to develop a Quality and Regulatory Framework that sets out the requirements for compliance under the 2016 Early Years Regulations.

The Early Year’s Inspectorate is now inviting all interested parties to give their feedback on this draft of the QRF. The purpose of this consultation is

a) to provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to give their views
b) to understand any potential concerns or challenges emerging
c) to identify potential training and other needs arising.

The questionnaire opens on Thursday 30th November and will close on Monday the 15th January 2018

Please click HERE to access the survey and further information from Tulsa. 

Capital 2018 Announcement: Early Years and School Age Childcare

dcyalogoThe Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is delighted to announce that there will be an Early Years and a School Age Childcare Capital Programme in 2018. The purpose of this announcement is to alert childcare services about the upcoming programme and give time to prepare to apply for the grants.

Strands

This year’s programme call will consist of 5 Strands.

- Strand 1: Expansion of an existing facility or creation of a new facility (Early Years)
- Strand 2: Essential building maintenance (Early Years, community services only)
- Strand 3: Creation of new natural outdoor play area (Early Years)
- Strand 4: The expansion of an existing facility or creation of a new facility (School Age Childcare)
- Strand 5: Essential building maintenance & quality improvement (School Age Childcare, community services only)

Services can apply for all strands for which they are eligible.

Timelines
Please note that in 2018, Early Years and School Age Childcare Capital schemes will run concurrently.
It is hoped to open applications early in 2018 to allow for appraisal, decision-making and contracting to take place in advance of the summer.

DCYA reference numbers:  Please note-
To apply for funding under any of the strands, ALL applicants MUST HAVE a valid DCYA reference number.

The DCYA reference number under which an application is made MUST relate to the facility (address) at which the grant monies are to be spent and reported.

If you intend to move or open a facility at a different address you MUST obtain a new DCYA reference number before the opening of capital applications. You must have a DCYA reference number for each facility i.e. premises for which you wish to make an application for funding.

To obtain a DCYA reference number you must first contact your local City/County Childcare Committee who will provide you with the relevant support and advice.

All Early Years services are required to register with Tusla and your City/County Childcare Committee will help you in this regard. For new Early Years premises, DCYA can provide reference numbers in advance of a Tusla fit-for-purpose check for the purpose of applications to the Capital programme.

All School Age Childcare Services are required to register with DCYA only. Your local City/County Childcare Committee will advise and support you in this regard.

Further information on 2018 Capital programmes will be available in December and full application guidelines will follow early in 2018.

ECCE Payments - Christmas Period

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ECCE Payments - Christmas Period

Please find details below of the ECCE Payments schedule and an update on registrations over Christmas Period:

Payment Dates: Payable To: Covering Maximum:
01 December 2017 19 January 2018 7 weeks
08 December 2017 19 January 2018  7 weeks
15 December  2017  19 January 2018 7 weeks
05 January 2018 19 January 2018 7 weeks
12 January 2018 19 January 2018 7 weeks
19 January 2018  23 February 2018 5 weeks

 

If Registrations Approved By
Close Of Business On:
You Will Receive Payment On:
27 November 2017 01 December 2017
04 December 2017 08 December 2017
11 December 2017  15 December 2017
02 January 2018 05 January 2018
08 January 2018 12 January 2018
15 January 2018 19 January 2018

PLEASE NOTE:

· Payments made on a Friday will cover registrations, Higher Capitation, and AIM Level 1 (LINC) allocations approved by close of business on the previous Monday.

· Services will be paid in accordance with submitted service calendars therefore non-payable weeks should be taken into consideration.

· Following discussions with the DCYA it has been agreed to allow early registration for the January intake - Children being registered from 1st January can be entered on the system from Monday 18th December (14 days in advance of start date).

· If you have any queries please contact Pobal Online Support on 01-5117122, or your local City/County Childcare Committee.

Applications for Overage Exemptions No Longer Accepted for ECCE Programme from 2018/19 Programme Year

dcyalogoApplications for Overage Exemptions No Longer Accepted for ECCE Programme from 2018/19 Programme Year

The free pre-school year provided under the ECCE Programme was introduced by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in 2010. The objective of this Programme is to make early learning in a formal setting available to eligible children before they commence primary school. When first introduced, the ECCE Programme was delivered over 38 weeks in a given ECCE Programme Year and children were required to be between the ages of 3 years and 2 months and 4 years and 7 months on September 1st in the year they enrolled. Children with a disability could apply for an exemption from this upper age limit for the ECCE Programme (although it remained preferable that these children transitioned to primary school along with the same age peer group).

The application process for an exemption from the upper age limit for the ECCE Programme was introduced within a context where:

  •  The ECCE Programme was one year only; and
  •  Where the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM)1 had yet to be introduced.

Update
Given, the extension of the ECCE Programme in 2016/17; (and the further extension of the Programme to two full years from September 2018), and the introduction of AIM in June 2016, it is clear that an application process for an exemption from the upper age limit for the ECCE Programme is no longer required.

The guiding principle with regard to a child’s participation in pre-school and primary school is the best interests of the child. In keeping with this best interest principle:

  • children should participate in inclusive mainstream settings (both pre-school and primary) (unless there is a compelling argument for a specialist setting), and
  • children should transition from pre-school to primary school with their peers with appropriate supports provided by the relevant primary school, the NCSE and other bodies as required.

On this basis, no applications for overage exemption will be accepted for the ECCE Programme from the 2018/19 Programme Year. From 2018/19, any concerns with regard to a child’s transition to primary school should be referred to the AIM application process. The AIM Early Years Specialists will work with the parents (and guardians), providers, Special
Education Needs Organisers (SENOs) and others (as appropriate) to support the child’s transition to primary school.

Parents (and guardians) and providers are therefore advised to engage with the AIM process early and in the normal way where a concern in relation to a child’s transition to primary school is identified.