Offaly County Childcare Committee -   057 9135878

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Welcome to Offaly County Childcare Committee

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

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​Information for schools and pre-school settings and parents of students/children on novel coronavirus nCoV-2019 HSE logo

There is an ongoing outbreak of a novel Coronavirus that has originated in Hubei Province and its Capital City, Wuhan, which has spread to several Chinese provinces and other countries. Infections have been reported in neighbouring Asian nations, but also further afield as you are aware.

The HSE HPSC is monitoring the situation and updating its website daily at 1pm.


Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illnesses. Some of these illnesses are very mild, like the common cold, while others are more severe, like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV

A “novel coronavirus” means a new strain of coronavirus that has never been seen in humans before. The coronavirus recently identified in China is one of these. This new coronavirus is being named “2019–nCoV”.

Symptoms of novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV

It can take up to 14 days for the symptoms of this 2019-nCoV to appear. These symptoms include:
• Fever (temperature of 38˚C or higher)
• Cough
• Breathing difficulties
• Shortness of breath
• Sore throat

Treatment of novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV

There is no specific treatment for 2019-nCoV at present. But the symptoms of the virus can be treated.

Advice for student/children returning to Ireland

If the person has not come from Wuhan, Hubei province, or has not been in contact with a person with novel coronavirus, or has not attended a healthcare facility where patients with novel coronavirus are being treated, then no specific measures are needed.

No symptoms

For a person with no symptoms, there is no need for quarantine (keeping a well person separate from others) for up to 2 weeks after coming to Ireland. There are no restrictions regarding school, pre-school, work or other activities.

If within the last 14 days, your student/child has come to Ireland from Wuhan OR has been in contact with a person diagnosed with novel coronavirus OR has attended a healthcare facility where patients with novel coronavirus are being treated, you (parent or guardian) are asked to make contact with your local Department of Public Health by phone for further advice.

Has symptoms

If any symptoms develop suggestive of acute respiratory illness, during or up to 14 days after travel from Wuhan, Hubei province you should:
• Keep your student/child at home and do not go to school or pre-school.
• Seek medical attention and share your student/child’s travel history with your health care provider. Phone the doctor in advance rather than attending in person.

Phone your GP, rather than turning up in person. Make sure that, when you phone, you mention your student/child’s recent travel.

How to protect yourself from novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV

1. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
2. If you are coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw the used tissue away into a closed bin, and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your flexed (bent) elbow.
3. Avoid close contact with anyone who you know has cold or flu symptoms.
4. Check the travel advisories from the Department of Foreign Affairs prior to arranging travel abroad.

HSE HPSC - Version 1.0 29 January 2020


Department of Children and Youth Affairs FAQs on the proposed Early Years protest 5 February 2020

Department of Children and Youth Affairs FAQs on the proposed Early Years protest 5 February 2020 DCYA new logo
Published: 28 January 2020
From: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs understands that some childcare providers intend to close, or reduce their service provision, to support a protest on 5 February, 2020. The department has received a number of queries from providers and parents relating to this matter.

In order to assist everyone affected, the department would like to offer the following information.

Will services which close receive their normal ECCE and other scheme payments?

  • The department has received legal advice that if services close for the protest day, or if they do not provide a service to a particular group of children and their parents, the department will not be in a position to provide funding for that day. This is in accordance with the existing contracts. Protests of this kind are not covered, for example, by force majeure
  • The department is not in a position to fund an alternative day where services propose to make up the time lost from the protest on another occasion

What do services need to do if they are going to close or reduce their service on Feb 5?

  • If a service closes, or partially closes as a result of the protest, providers must submit their revised calendars to Pobal in advance of any closure
  • In addition, providers must notify Pobal that they have closed (or partially closed) on 5 February, so that payments can be adjusted accordingly. Again, this provision is in line with the Funding Agreements signed by providers. Pobal will, in early February, publish a form on PIP for providers to use to notify them of a closure. This form will make clear the timeframe requirement for the notification

Can City / County Childcare Committees advise services about protesting?

  • City / County Childcare Committees have no role in advising providers about any decision to protest
  • They remain available to assist parents and providers with regard to all DCYA schemes and initiatives

Do services have DCYA funding stopped when a child is late, sick or goes home early?

  • Changes to funding support for a child are made only when a child changes their pattern of attendance, for example for full day to part time, or from a 5 day week to a 4 day week
  • If a child has a serious illness, the provider can receive funding from the department, even if the child is absent for up to 12 weeks. Pobal or the CCCs are available to provide further information on this as required

Reports suggest that a significant number of services have closed, are these reports correct?

  • The department is not aware that any service has had to close due to being refused insurance. Tusla has also said that every service which intended to re-register succeeded in doing so
  • The number of services in operation remains stable at approximately 4,500 and capacity has increased year on year
  • That said, DCYA is aware of the many challenges that exist for providers and continues to make support available, through a variety of sources

What was the average Programme Support Payment paid out in December?

  • The average Programme Support Payment that issued in December was €1,500 and ranged from small amounts, to very large amounts, depending on the size of the service and the number of children on DCYA schemes

Is it true that there has been no increase to capitation in recent years?

  • The ECCE capitation was increased by 7% in January 2018
  • In addition to this increase in both the standard and higher capitation payments, the department changed the rules relating to higher capitation for ECCE in 2016 to enable more services to access it
  • Currently 50% of all ECCE services are in receipt of higher capitation, compared to 10% in 2010 Other additional payments have been introduced, for example, under AIM, additional funding of €2 per ECCE child, per week, for services with Inclusion Coordinators. In 2019 €27m was paid to providers in Programme Support Payments
  • The maximum subsidy to parents available under the NCS now stands at €204 per child per week whereas under the previous DCYA funding schemes, including the CCSP and TEC, the maximum subsidy was €145

Scheduled PIP Portal Maintenance

Scheduled PIP Portal Maintenance: 1st-2nd February 2020 PobalLogo

Dear Service Provider,

Please be aware that necessary maintenance to our IT systems will take place from 2pm on Saturday, 1st February until 6pm Sunday, 2nd February. Service Providers will not be able to submit new child registrations on PIP during the maintenance window.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Early Years Team 

NCS Bridging Payments

*NCS Bridging Payments*National Childcare Scheme Logo

Dear Service Provider,

Services who availed of one/two week’s subsidised (paid) closure for NCS over the Christmas and New Year’s period were given the option to avail of a Bridging Payment, as they would be unable to submit their NCS returns while closed. Services would have been prompted to avail of this when they were submitting their weekly return on the Early Years Hive for the week ending 15th December, 2019.

This was also communicated in advance through an announcement about Christmas payments made on the PIP portal on 10th December, 2019.

If you were one of these services, please be aware that this week’s NCS payment (17th January) will be adjusted accordingly i.e. the amount of the bridging payment will be deducted from the payment due.

*Bridging Payments are made available to services to avail of on the Early Years Hive when submitting a return. Two weeks in advance, the system recognises when a service has a subsidised closure coming up and asks the following: “You have an upcoming closure. Do you want to request a Bridging Payment for dates from X to Z? (Yes/No)”

This is paid while the service is closed i.e. unable to submit returns. Services must then submit ‘Fast Returns’ for this period when they return after the closure.

Early Years Team

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


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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