Katherine Zappone TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has announced extra funding of €73m for children, youth services and families, bringing the total investment by her Department to €1.38 billion for 2018.
The Minister said: I am very pleased that we have delivered as promised on the commitment to continue investing in our children and young people. Today’s €73m package secures much- needed additional resources for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency and provides a full second year of the ECCE free pre-school scheme, with a heavy emphasis on quality. It also recognises the importance of improved conditions for our early years workforce.
Click HERE to read the Minister's statement in full.
Highlights for Budget 2018
ECCE (Free Preschool Year)
From September 2018, the ECCE scheme will be made available to all children over the age of 2 years and 8 months for two full programme years. From September 2018 there will only be one entry point in September of each year, the upper age limit on finishing ECCE will remain at 5 years and 6 months.
From September 2018 the capitation rates will increase by 7%
- Standard Capitation will increase from €64.50 to €69
- Higher Capitation will increase from €75 to €80.25
Other Early Years Developments:
Programme Support Payments: previously know as non-contact time payments, to assist with non-contact costs associated with the schemes are now fully secured and will available in 2018 and thereafter.
Sustainability Efforts: An Additonal €500,000, in addition to the €1 million secured in Budget 2017, will be made available to support providers whose viability is under threat.
Capital: An additonal €1 million for capital expenditure for early years and school aged childcare has been added to the €7.5 million baseline capital funding
Inspection: An addtional €1 million for investment inspection and registration in Tusla and Deparment of Education and Skills to assure the quality of early years services.