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Communications in the Childcare Sector

Minister Announces a Number of Measures to Support Childcare Providers. 19875672 1337059526348124 484620879276509836 n

Following a meeting today between the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD, Anna Shakespeare, CEO of Pobal, Bernard Gloster, CEO of Tusla, and Dr Harold Hislop, the Department of Education and Skills Chief Inspector, the Minister outlined a number of measures to support Childcare Providers in the short term.

These actions cover:

  • addressing the information overload from the different agencies who communicate with Providers
  • providing a better customer service to Providers
  • ironing out early stage challenges with the new National Childcare Scheme
  • supporting Providers in the regulatory environment

Speaking following the meeting, Minister Zappone said:

“There has been a huge increase in investment and in capacity in the Childcare sector in the past 5 years. This is good news but I think it is fair to acknowledge that the system has been challenged in keeping up with this development of the sector. We all agree that there is a need to examine how the system supports the sector.

“This is why we have agreed a number of short-term measures which aim to reduce the burden on Providers.

“When I met the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs on 18 December, I told them that my department, Pobal and Tusla would work together in 2020 to simplify and streamline procedures so that those in the sector are not over-burdened with administration. Today, we have examined ways that we can do this.

“We have identified ways we can work together to streamline and improve our communications and offer better supports to providers. We have agreed a number of measures which we anticipate will alleviate some of the burden on the childcare sector.

“Key measures which we have agreed today:
The Minister will establish a National Stakeholder Consultative Forum in which the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Department of Education and Skills, Pobal and Tusla will work directly with the Early Years Sector. They will consult jointly and separately as required. The Forum will also have regional sub-groups.

We are committed to providing clear, user friendly information for providers and parents from all agencies involved in the Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare (ELC and SAC) sector.

We will co-ordinate routine communications on advisory and support matters from all agencies, so that providers get a single monthly bulletin with information from each agency
We will coordinate supports for providers to assist with Registration and Re-registration processes.”

Speaking following the meeting, Anna Shakespeare, CEO of Pobal, commented:

“Pobal is committed to the provision of accessible and quality childcare to all children and families. On a daily basis, Pobal engages with parents and families in contact with the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) Parent Support Centre. Similarly, we are actively engaged with Early Learning and Care and School-Age service providers in towns and communities throughout Ireland, and through our dedicated Early Years Provider Centre. We are acutely aware of the challenges impacting the sector. As the Scheme Administrator for NCS, we have seen significant changes over the last few months and we are determined to continue to support service providers and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to implement important developments for the benefit of children, parents and families into the future.”

Speaking following the meeting, Bernard Gloster, CEO of Tusla, said:

“We welcome any opportunity to improve communications within the early years’ sector, and have undertaken a number of positive changes in recent months on this front. Ultimately, the regulation of early years’ services aims to ensure that children have quality early years’ experiences in Tusla registered services. The engagement from service providers with the recent re-registration process has shown their ongoing commitment to compliance in this sector, which is vital to many aspects of Irish life for children and their parents.”
Harold Hislop, Chief Inspector of Early Years Education, said:

“We have developed our approach to inspection through close collaboration with practitioners and childcare professionals. We will participate enthusiastically in the Stakeholder Forum that the Minister will establish and we look forward to collaborating with its members.”

The over-riding priority of the Minister, departments and agencies is that children and their families and the providers that educate and take care of them remain at the heart of everything we do

 

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National Childcare Scheme: Written Service Provider-Parent Agreement

Notice on PIP for providers:  PobalLogo

Dear Service Provider,

As you may be aware, it is mandatory for service providers to have a written contract or agreement in place with every parent under the National Childcare Scheme. This agreement is a requirement under the Childcare Support Act 2018 and under the terms of the National Childcare Scheme Funding Agreement between the Minister and the service provider.

Once the CHICK has been presented and childcare hours have been agreed, this contract must be physically signed and dated on the same day by both the service provider and the parent and both should retain a copy. The provider must also keep and store the contracts in an accessible format on-site for any compliance visits.

Please see the Compliance section heading of the Programme Information section on the Early Years Hive for more information.

Early Years Team

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Minister Zappone welcomes response to the National Childcare Scheme

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, has welcomed the response to the National Childcare Scheme.19875672 1337059526348124 484620879276509836 n

Since the Scheme launched on Wednesday 20 November, 15,859 applications have been received for 24,133 children. To date, the parents of 20,749 children have been informed of what they are entitled to and many of them have accessed these subsidies.

Speaking of the applications received and awards made, Minister Zappone stated:

“I am delighted with the response to the National Childcare Scheme. The parents of over 20,700 children have been informed of their entitlement and many have accessed it. I would like to see these numbers continue to grow, and I encourage parents to visit our website www.ncs.gov.ie for more information on what they may be eligible for and how to apply.”

Using a verified MyGovID account, families can apply directly for subsidies at ncs.gov.ie. Subsidies can then be used with any participating, Tusla registered early learning and care and school aged childcare service, including Tusla registered childminders. The Scheme’s purpose-built IT system aims to process a universal application in a matter of minutes, and an income assessed application in a matter of days.

On the application process, Minister Zappone noted:

“As with any new and highly innovative Scheme, the initial volume of applications has been high and we hope to see this continue. There are a range of helpful resources for families on our website, and we have extended the opening hours of the National Childcare Scheme Parent Support Centre from 8.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Saturday.”

Further information and resources for parents are available at ncs.gov.ie.

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2020 capital investment programme to increase the number of early learning and care and school age childcare places

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, is pleased to announce the details of the 2020 Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital 19875672 1337059526348124 484620879276509836 n
programmes. The Minister has secured €8.1m for childcare capital grants across 2020.

€7.2m of this will be used for the Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital programmes, an increase of over €1million on the 2019 capital programme for this sector.

The programmes will be open for applications from early learning and care and school age childcare services in February 2020.

Service providers will be invited to apply for funding under the following strands:
Strand A: Creation of new places for 0-3 year olds - €5.5m (max. €50,000 per grant).
Strand B: Works required for regulatory compliance for community services – €1m (max. €1,200 per grant).
Strand C: Creation of new school age places - €700,000 (max. €20,000 per grant).

The funding objective is the continued expansion of early learning and care places for 0-3 year olds, and to create additional places for school age childcare.
Funding is also being made available to support community/not-for-profit early learning and care services in addressing issues identified during the process of Tusla re-registration.
Commenting on the launch of the Capital fund, Minister Zappone said: -

“2019 has been a very significant year in our efforts to transform one of the most expensive childcare services in the world into the best. The landmark and highly innovative National Childcare Scheme launched in November, and I believe it is our future pathway to quality, accessible and affordable childcare in Ireland.
Demand for childcare places continues to grow in many parts of the country, and I am delighted to have secured capital funding of €7.2million to support a further increase in capacity in the sector.
I would like to thank childcare providers for their continued delivery of high quality services, and I am pleased to note that many providers are committed to growing their services to meet growing demand. I recently launched the Pobal Annual Sector Profile for 2019, it also reports that almost a quarter of all services intend to expand in the next 12 months, creating over 15,000 additional spaces for children nationwide. This demonstrates 218,000 places in 2019 compared to 104,000 places 5 years ago. This capital programme will help them to do that.”

The capital programme will be administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department. Further information on the application process, including detailed application guidelines, will be made available to services in February 2020.

Childcare providers are encouraged to contact their local City/County Childcare Committee with any queries on the programme and the application process.

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Reminder: Savers Management Window closes on Monday 13th January, 2020

Reminder: Savers Management Window closes on Monday 13th January, 2020 PobalLogo

Dear Service Provider,

This is a reminder that the Savers Management Window for CCSP registrations will close on Monday 13th January, 2020.

Please ensure that you have submitted any amendments to registrations before this date. After this date, any changes to existing CCSP registrations can only be made in the next Savers Management Window, which is scheduled for 14th February.

For more information, please refer to the NCS Savers 2019 FAQs which are available on the PIP Portal under ‘Resources’

Early Years Team

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