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Landmark review of the Child Care Act 1991 receives approval to be drafted

Landmark review of the Child Care Act 1991 receives approval to be draftedChild care act review 19 04 2023
From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Published on 19 April 2023

Last updated on 19 April 2023

• The Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2023 provides for the review and update of the Child Care Act 1991, the primary Act guiding child welfare and protection in Ireland

• The new Bill intends to capture positive policy and practice developments and address legislative gaps identified during the review process and will also revise and update the regulation of early learning and childcare services.

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, has today (19 April) announced government approval to draft the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2023.

The Bill, when enacted, will revise and update the 1991 Act to better reflect changes in child welfare and protection services in Ireland in the 30 years since enactment of the 1991 Act, as well as capture current legislative, policy and practice developments.

The Bill will also revise and update the regulation of early learning and childcare services.

The development of the Bill was informed by significant engagement and consultation with stakeholders to collect their views on the legislation including through public consultations, written submissions and a number of consultation events. This included extensive engagement with Tusla on subjects covered by the 1991 Act.

Some of the most significant areas of change proposed are as follows:

• Introduction of a guiding principles section to the Act, with the best interests of the child as the overriding principle.

• Introduction of a duty to cooperate between relevant bodies, such as Tusla, Government Departments, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and An Garda Síochána (AGS). This cooperation will include the sharing of information between relevant bodies and Tusla, and with each other, in accordance with the law and as necessary and proportionate.

• The voice of the child is to be strengthened both in court proceedings and in decisions taken outside the court setting by introducing a principle that children should be able to participate in the decision-making process.

• Amendments to Section 3 of the Child Care and to Children First Act 2015 related to assessments of reports of harm.

• Amendments to existing rules for Supervision Orders, Interim Care Orders, Care Orders, Emergency Care Orders and Voluntary Care Agreements.

• Amendments to Part VIIA to allow Tusla Early Years Inspectorate to immediately close unregistered early learning and childcare services, to temporarily suspend registered services where there are concerns about significant risk to children, to share information on enforcement action with parents, to place some additional enforcement measures on a legislative footing, and to introduce a “Fit Person” regulation.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister O’Gorman said:

“The Child Care Act 1991 was a transformative piece of legislation, helping to promote the protection of children. We want to build on that, making the Act more child-centred, and taking account of the many societal and legislative changes since 1991 including the establishment of the Child and Family Agency, Children First legislation and the children’s referendum.”

The General Scheme will now be referred to the Office of the Attorney General for priority drafting of the Bill. The text of the Bill will be finalised as a matter of priority and it is intended to progress the legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming months.

For more information on the review of the Child Care Act click here

For more information on the public consultation on a review of regulations for early learning and care click here

For the report on a public consultation on a review of regulations for early learning and care click here

DCEDIY : NCS Attendance Letter to Parents

Dear Providers,NCS 18 04 2023

Following on from the update on attendance rules that issued via the e-bulletin last month, please find bellow a copy of a letter that will be sent to all parents registered with NCS.

The Early Years Team


Dear Parent/Guardian,

We are writing to you to remind you of the attendance rules for the National Childcare Scheme (NCS), and in particular the flexibility under the Scheme to support families when there are occasional changes to your child’s attendance pattern.

We recognise that there will be occasions where your child’s attendance is less than your registered hours. This could be due to illness, appointments, early collections and late drop offs. Picking your child up early every now and then has no effect on your subsidy, and childcare providers will routinely round up your child’s daily attendance to the nearest full hour. Missing a day due to illness every now and then or taking 2 weeks holiday will not affect your subsidy.

For more information read on:

My Registered Hours

When your NCS application was approved, you received a unique CHICK code, along with a maximum number of weekly hours that the subsidy will be paid. This is the code you took to your childcare provider.

NCS is designed to be flexible. For example, a subsidy covering up to 20 hours can be used for four half-day sessions (8am – 1pm) or could be used for two full-day sessions (8am-6pm).

You can use the subsidised hours in a way that best suits your family needs and the sessions your chosen childcare provider is offering.

When you registered, both you and the provider will have confirmed how many hours you planned to use. It is important that this reflects the hours your child will actually be attending childcare. For example, if you are entitled to the maximum 45 hour a week subsidy but you know your child will be attending for 30 hours a week, you should ask your childcare provider to register for 30 hours. When you are confirming the registration, you must make sure the hours your provider has registered are correct.

Occasionally using different hours

Subsidies will only be reduced if your child is continuously absent from a service, or not using the agreed hours for a prolonged period.

Continuously absent means 4 weeks or more (with some exceptions for prolonged illness and certain other exceptional events).

Not using agreed hours for a prolonged period means not using the hours you agreed every week for 8 weeks or more, at which point the provider will be notified and will alert you.

If the reduced hours were temporary and you return to your registered hours within the next four weeks, then you don’t have to do anything.

If the hours used don’t return to those registered within this time period, then after 12 weeks of using fewer hours than your registration, the number of hours that can be claimed will be capped to reflect the number of hours actually attended on average in the previous 12 weeks. This will only affect your subsidy from this point on however, no money will be reclaimed from you or the provider for the initial 12 week period.

Permanently using different hours

If you plan to continue using these reduced hours in the future, you should inform your childcare provider so they can update your registration.

If you require more hours at certain times of the year up to the maximum hours allowed – for example, your child is in ECCE or school and you want to increase hours during mid-terms and summer holidays - this is allowed on the scheme, once it is agreed with your provider. It is important to note that only hours when the child is not in ECCE or school can be claimed for under the NCS.

We hope that this information proves useful, but if you have any further questions please contact the Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530 for further advice.

Core Funding – Review and Confirm Window Two Process

Dear Service Provider,core funding 18 04 2023

The Review and Confirm window closed on Friday 7 April 2023.

It is important to note that although the window has now closed, services who have not yet completed the Review and Confirm are still required to complete the process and the Review and Confirm form will remain open on the Early Years Hive.

Please note: Core Funding payments will be placed on hold until such a time as the process is completed. However, once your Review and Confirm is approved, Partner Services will receive payment on the next available catch-up payment.

Core Funding applications/application changes must be at an Approved status prior to completing the Review and Confirm form.

If your previous application/application change is at “Approved” and you have an application change at a “Draft” status you must abandon the draft application prior to completing the Review and Confirm form.

If an application is at “Referred back” Service Providers are required to submit an application change to rectify the refer back reason outlined. Once the application change is approved, you must then proceed to complete the Review & Confirm form.

To support services in completing a Review & Confirm form, a detailed guidance document and new tailored training videos are available here.

Best wishes,
The Early Years Team

Minister Rabbitte publishes Autism Innovation Strategy Public Consultation Report

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

Published on 14 April 2023

  • Report summarises feedback received through public consultation process
  • Publication coincides with World Autism Month

To coincide with World Autism Month 2023, Minister for Disability, Anne Rabbitte, has today published a report analysing submissions received during an open public consultation designed to inform the development of the Autism Innovation Strategy.

This public consultation was convened in April 2022 and was designed to capture views about the challenges facing Autistic people in Ireland and how these challenges could be addressed.

There was a positive response from the Autistic community and the report aims to capture the richness and variety of perspectives put forward as part of the consultation.

The key findings identified in the report will directly inform the drafting of the Autism Innovation Strategy.

The Autism Innovation Strategy will seek to identify and deliver tangible solutions to address the bespoke challenges faced by Autistic and Neurodivergent people across Ireland. The strategy will identify simple, clear actions that can make a real difference to people’s lives. It will focus on areas that may not be addressed by other national strategies and frameworks on the basis of additionality and complementarity.

Minister RabbitteAnnouncing the publication of the report, Minister Rabbitte said:

“I am delighted to announce the publication of this important report that seeks to capture the voice of the Autistic community and highlights their views as to how the State can better recognise and meet their needs.

“It is crucial that the Autism Innovation Strategy be informed by the lived experience of Autistic people, and this report provides an invaluable source of insights and perspectives in this regard. I would like to thank all those individuals and organisations that contributed to the public consultation.

“Publication of this report is particularly timely as we mark World Autism Month 2023. This is an important opportunity to celebrate the contribution of the Autistic community to our society and to consider how we as a Government and a society can do more for Autistic and Neurodivergent people.

“I look forward to further progressing development of the Autism Innovation Strategy over the coming months as we work to make a meaningful difference to the lives of Autistic and Neurodivergent people in Ireland,”

concluded Minister Rabbitte.


Action on Autism is a commitment in the Programme for Government.

On World Autism Awareness Day in 2021, Minister Rabbitte announced the Government’s intention to develop a national strategy on Autism. The Autism Innovation Strategy will complement existing policies and frameworks by addressing the bespoke challenges faced by Autistic and Neurodivergent people in Ireland.

Consultation with Autistic and Neurodivergent people, their families, supporters and representatives will be at the heart of the Autism Innovation Strategy, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The first stage in the development process of the Autism Innovation Strategy consisted of an initial public consultation, which took place from April to May 2022. The report published today summarises and analyses the submissions received as part of this consultation.

The second phase of the development process, comprising an application process for membership of the Autism Innovation Strategy Oversight and Advisory Group, was launched in June 2022. The group was appointed and met for the first time in December 2022.

The findings from the public consultation will now help to inform the text and scope of the Strategy, which is currently being prepared.


AIS Report on Public Consultation_April 2023




AIS Report on Public Consultation_Easy to Read Version


AIS Report on Public Consultation_April 2023_Word.doc



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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