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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Govt funds 5,000 extra childcare spaces for school age children Capital Funding increases 33% to €4m

Govt funds 5,000 extra childcare spaces for school age children:  Capital Funding increases 33% to €4m
Childcare awareness campaign ‘It Starts Now’ launched to inform parents of €19m in Extra Supports for families

Joint Statement by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone

Government funding of €4m is being provided to improve childcare services for children of school going age and make life easier for parents and families.

The announcement comes as the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, launch the latest phase of a national awareness campaign to make families aware of increased supports starting next month (Sept).

The first two strands of this funding announced today will help create over 5,000 extra childcare places in 225 school age childcare services. A third strand will be announced in the coming weeks.

The extra spaces will further increase capacity ahead of new childcare supports which will benefit up to 70,000 children from September.

The next phase of a national awareness campaign will encourage parents to check out their children’s entitlements under the banner ‘It Starts Now’. This is part of ongoing efforts across Government to support parents and families through a range of policies.

Families are being encouraged to visit a special website www.affordablechildcare.ie which has already recorded more than quarter of a million visits.

At the launch of the campaign the Taoiseach said:
“In just three weeks’ time, up to 70,000 children will be able to register for a range of childcare subsidies put in place by the Government of Ireland to honour our commitment to make childcare more affordable for families. For the first time, a universal, non-means tested childcare subsidy will be available for children aged six months to three years. This amounts to a maximum of €1,040 per year, for some the cost of one month of childcare. We will also be providing extra support for parents on lower incomes going back to work or education, providing as much as €145 per week towards the cost of their childcare.

“In a Republic of Opportunity everyone should have the chance to access employment and education. Childcare can often be a barrier to this, whereas it should be a bridge to opportunity for parents, their children and our economy. These new subsidies will create greater parental choice and financial support for families so they can achieve their full potential. I’m delighted that investment made this year will help families begin to feel a difference in their pockets from September. I urge everyone with children in childcare to visit affordablechildcare.ie to see the supports available to their family.”

Minister Zappone added
“The first big step is being taken to accessible affordable quality childcare. Through our awareness campaign we are reaching out to parents and telling them how they can benefit from the extra €19m in family supports now just four weeks away.

There are two ways in which supports will be delivered. A universal support to every child aged 6-months to 3-years-old and then targeted supports for those families which need it most – this second category covers children up to 15-years of age.

Ensuring capacity for school age children is important to reach our goals in terms of accessibility and quality. The funding of €4m announced today will help us to get there.

I am delighted that 225 projects have been identified in the first two rounds of this funding, with the remainder to be announced shortly.

Our childcare goals are ambitious. They have to be. I remain fully committed to work with parents and providers so we can finally turn one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world into the best.”

ENDS//

Note to Editors:

Capital Grants for School Age Childcare
Strand A: establishment of new SAC services (€1.7m – maximum €20k per grant): 113 projects to be funded.
Strand B: Expansion of existing SAC services (€1m maximum €10k per grant): 112 projects to be funded.
• Strand C: Improvement of existing SAC services (€1.3m, maximum €5k per grant): Appraisals to be finalised in early August.

The services approved for funding in today’s announcement relate to Strands A and B, comprising 225 individual projects, which should see the creation of over 5000 additional School Age Childcare places. Appraisals relating to Strand C will be finalised in early August and the applicants will be notified accordingly.

Childcare Capital Funding Doubled to €8.4m

Childcare Capital Funding Doubled to €8.4m : Zappone
More than 2,200 new childcare places pave way for big changes in September
“Accessible affordable quality Childcare needs proper infrastructure”
Statement by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone

Wednesday, 19th July 2017

Funding to improve childcare services is to be doubled to €8.4m, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.

Minister Zappone has announced that €8.4m in capital funding has been allocated through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to 683 pre-school providers nationwide; an increase in €4,4m on the amount announced for this programme in March 2017. Minister Zappone says the increase in funding comes at a key moment in Ireland’s move to accessible affordable quality childcare.

The money is to be used to provide more than 2,200 new childcare places, maintenance and building work as well as outdoor play areas and is available for immediate draw-down by the successful applicants.

Minister Zappone said:  “I am delighted to be able to more than double the funding being provided to Early Years Services at this critical time. We are responding to huge demand from Early Years providers. I am confirming that 683 individual projects are set to be funded, reflecting my strong commitment to increasing the capacity and quality of Ireland’s childcare sector.”

The approved 2017 Early Years Capital Funding will be made available to childcare centres, crèches and other Early Years services under three strands:
• Strand 1: New Places (€4.2m – maximum €50k per grant): 89 projects to be funded.
• Strand 2: Building improvements and maintenance (€2.1m maximum €20k per grant, Community only): 131 projects to be funded.
• Strand 3: Natural outdoor play area (€2.1m, maximum €5k per grant): 463 projects to be funded.
The additional funding being announced today is focused in particular on Strands 2 and 3, comprising 594 individual projects, which will benefit in particular community services providing Early Years care, with nine more projects than anticipated also being funded under Strand 1.

Minister Zappone said:- “As Minister, I hold the provision of quality, affordable and accessible childcare as a very highest priority.  This year’s Early Years Capital Funding programme received an overwhelming amount of applications from providers who share these same goals.  This funding will benefit children, families and providers under our Early Years programmes, and will contribute to the development of an infrastructure that is ready to meet the radical new approach to subsidising childcare outlined in Budget 2017.”

Early Years Capital Strand 1

Early Years Capital Strand 2

Early Years Capital Strand 3

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs Update on Affordable Childcare

19875672 1337059526348124 484620879276509836 nJoint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs
Update on Affordable Childcare
Opening remarks by Dr Katherine Zappone TD Minister for Children and Youth Affairs

12th July 2017

"I am very pleased to meet with the Committee this morning to provide an update on the measures, which are being put in place to make childcare more affordable for families from September and to outline the progress that has been made since we last met on 8 February in developing the Affordable Childcare Scheme (ACS).

In particular, I would like to update you on some of the issues raised by the Committee in Pre-Legislative Scrutiny.

Update on measures to make childcare more affordable
On 11 April, I announced a range of measures, which will make childcare more affordable for families from September.

Deputies will be aware that these measures include:

§ universal subsidies, of up to €1,040 per annum per child, which will be available for all children aged between 6 and 36 months; and

§ targeted subsidies, of up to €7,500 per annum per child, which will be delivered to those families who need it most.

It is these targeted subsidies that will open up jobs, training and education for parents who want to lift their families out of poverty.  As a result of these measures, up to 70,000 children will benefit from extra childcare support this September – this will be an important moment.

This is the first big practical step to changing one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world into one of the best.

By addressing the affordability issue we will ease the burden on many parents for whom childcare costs have become a second rent or mortgage."

The Minister up-dated the Joint Oireachtas Committee on areas such as Legislation, ICT approval process, Launch planning, timelines and other preparatory work.

To read the Ministers full remarks please click HERE

Families in crisis receive extra free childcare Zappone takes further steps to improve access to childcare for families who are homeless and programme refugees

Families in crisis receive extra free childcaredcyalogo

Zappone takes further steps to improve access to childcare forfamilies who are homeless and programme refugees

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

10th July 2017

Free childcare schemes for families who are homeless and refugees starting new lives in Ireland are to be expanded, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.

Free childcare for families which are homeless is to be extended to include all children aged 12 and under for the summer months and all future school holidays. Children under 5-years-old currently benefit on a year round basis.

In addition children from families who arrive in Ireland from the Mediterranean crisis under the refugee relocation programme will be offered 60 weeks of free childcare – an increase from the current 8-weeks.

Making the announcement Minister Zappone added:

“I believe every child should have access to childcare, no matter what their background, income or family circumstance. It is an ambitious goal but one which we must reach if we are to have genuine accessible affordable quality childcare.

Since the start of the year we have used funding of €8m to offer free services with a daily meal to children aged 5 years and under from families who are homeless. I am now delighted to confirm that this scheme is being extended to include part-time childcare for 6 to 12-year olds over the summer months and during other school breaks.

The extension will not only provide activity for young children but will also ease the huge burden on families who are in very stressful situations.

In addition free childcare for children arriving in Ireland from the European refugee crisis is to be extended from 8 weeks to 60 weeks.

Families arriving into Ireland from the ‘hotspots’ along the Mediterranean will benefit.

The extension will assist integration and create space for parents, guardians and older family members to seek jobs, training and education. It will assist them to resettle and restart their lives in Irish communities which will become home.

Childcare in Ireland is changing forever. We are transforming one of the most expensive systems in the world into one of the best. Accessibility is a key challenge we must address to reach this goal. These announcements underline our commitment to achieve that goal.”

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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