Offaly County Childcare Committee -   057 9135878

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Offaly County Childcare Committee is located at St Joseph's Community Centre in Kilcormac, Co Offaly.

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90% increase in number of children benefitting from National Childcare Scheme

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

Published on 9 August 2023 DCEDIY logo

Last updated on 9 August 2023

Unprecedented demand for the National Childcare Scheme in first six months since increased subsidies came into effect.

  • A total of 134,580 children benefited from supports under the National Childcare Scheme within the first six months of 2023 – an increase of 90% from the previous year;
  • Massive growth is seen in the number of school-age children availing of financial supports under the Scheme – with 183% more claims submitted than the previous year;
  • Families welcome the positive impact of recent changes to the National Childcare Scheme, including the increase in the minimum hourly subsidy rate to €1.40;  ncs logo long
  • All families with children under the age of 15 are encouraged to avail of their entitlements under the Scheme.

Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth today announced a 90% increase in the number of children who benefitted from a National Childcare Scheme (NCS) subsidy within the first six months of 2023 compared to the previous year. Within the first half of 2023, a total of 134,580 children availed of supports under the Scheme – compared to 70,786 for the same period in 2022.

The largest increase was among school-age children, where increases of 183% in the number of school-age children benefiting from a NCS subsidy has been recorded within the first six months of 2023 - with 52,676 school-age children benefitting compared to 18,627 for the same period in 2022.

The increase is driven by recent changes introduced to the Scheme.

In August last year, the age eligibility for a universal subsidy under the Scheme was extended to children under 15 from children under 3.

In January this year, the minimum hourly subsidy was increased to €1.40, per hour, per child from €0.50 per hour per child.

The minimum subsidy under the Scheme is now worth up to €3,276 per annum for families availing of a full-time place in a Tusla-registered early learning and childcare service and the subsidy can be flexibly used to offset the cost of various early learning an childcare options – including breakfast clubs and school-age childcare (in term and during the school holidays). Families on low incomes are eligible for higher subsidies under the Scheme, with up to €8,775 per annum, per child available through an income-assessed award.

These changes to the Scheme have been backed by an additional €121m secured in Budget 2023 by Minister O’Gorman, bringing total funding for the Scheme to €358m in 2023.

Record numbers of Tusla-registered early learning and childcare providers now offer the Scheme to parents nationwide – 15% more than in 2022. An early learning and childcare search function is available on that details all providers offering the Scheme on a local level – including those providing school-age childcare.

Parents are encouraged to visit, call the Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530, or talk to their early learning and childcare provider to make sure they are fully availing of financial supports under the Scheme.

Welcoming today’s announcement, the Minister said:

Roderic OGorman

“This Government is delivering on its promise to make high-quality early learning and childcare more affordable for families and accessible to all children.

"I welcome the news that more than 130,000 children, and their families, benefitted from the National Childcare Scheme within the first half of 2023.

"We have seen unprecedented demand for the National Childcare Scheme since the increase in subsidies was announced as part of Budget 2023.

"I am committed to securing further investment in the Scheme in Budget 2024 to introduce further subsidy changes and importantly, to widen access to the Scheme to families that use childminders, following the introduction of regulation.

"I strongly encourage all eligible families to avail of the supports on offer through the National Childcare Scheme, by visiting, calling the Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530 or talking to their early learning and childcare provider”



The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) provides financial support to help families with their early learning and childcare costs.

There are two types of subsidies available for children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years of age:

  • A universal subsidy which is not means tested and provides €1.40 per hour, for a maximum of 45 hours per week;
  • An income assessed subsidy which is means tested and will be calculated based on a family’s individual circumstances.

Within the first half of 2023, a total of 134,580 children availed of supports under the Scheme – compared to 70,786 for the same period in 2022. The number of school-age children with a submitted claim under the NCS in the first half of 2022 was 52,676 compared to 18,627 the previous year.

Since 2 January 2023, the minimum hourly subsidy for families using registered early learning and childcare is €1.40 per child - offsetting up to €3,276 in annual out of pocket costs for early learning and childcare per child. Higher levels of subsidy – which are means assessed – are available to families on lower incomes, up to a maximum of €8,775 per child.

Parents can apply for the Scheme on or call the Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530 to make an application by post.

National Síolta Aistear Initiative – Aistear and Play

Dear Service Provider,  aistearandsiolta


The purpose of the NSAI is to support the implementation of our two National Frameworks-Síolta and Aistear. Aistear and Play is delivered by Better Start Early Years Specialists. This Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an eligible activity for your Core Funding Quality Action Plan. 

The course will take place over five 2.5 hour in-person sessions. The course includes two mentoring visits by an Early Years Specialist, one after session 3 and another after session 5. 

If your setting is interested in taking part in Aistear and Play, click HERE and complete your expression of interest. For further information go to Better Start’s website HERE.

Kind Regards
The Early Years Team

AIM Level 1 Application Process opens 16 August for 2023/24 for existing graduates

Dear Service Provider, AIM Logo

AIM Level 1 Application Process opens 16 August for 2023/24 for existing graduates 

AIM Level 1 applications for existing graduates will open on the Early Years Hive next Wednesday, 16 August 2023. The AIM Level 1 application supports the increased ECCE capitation, funded by DCEDIY in recognition of the leadership and mentoring role which is delivered by the Inclusion Co-ordinator during the 2023/2024 pre-school year.

Please note AIM Level 1 is an annual application process.

AIM Level 1 application  guidelines can be found here. Prior to submitting the AIM Level 1 application, service providers must ensure that they have completed their ECCE programme readiness steps and activated the ECCE Funding Agreement. 

New graduates (i.e. graduating in October 2023) can apply when final exam results have been notified by Mary Immaculate College (expected September 2023).

Should you have any queries in relation to the AIM Level 1 application process please contact the Early Years Provider Centre by raising a Request on HIVE using the following categories:

Programme: AIM Level 1

Request type: Application

Request type detail: How To 

Kind regards
AIM Team

Supporting Quality Childcare in Offaly

Offaly County Childcare Committee support the development of quality, affordable, inclusive, accessible childcare and family friendly services for all children in every part of the county.

Offaly County Childcare Committee has been meeting since May 2001 and is made up of representatives from the statutory sector, social partners, community groups, voluntary groups, the Community and Voluntary Forum, National Voluntary Children's Organisations, providers of childcare, and parents - all of whom have a vested interest in childcare provision in the county.

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