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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Childcare Support Bill published

Childcare Support Bill published
Bill will underpin the new Affordable Childcare Scheme

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone hails Childcare Support Billas “a cornerstone for our radical new approach to childcare”


The Childcare Support Bill 2017 has been published and will proceed through the Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming weeks. The bill is an essential element in development of the Affordable Childcare Scheme, which will provide a new approach to supporting affordable access to quality childcare in Ireland.

Once launched, the Affordable Childcare Scheme will provide financial support to help reduce the cost of childcare for parents. Through this, it aims to improve access; assist families to return to work and training; reduce child poverty; and improve outcomes for children.

“The ambition of this project is huge in scale but is of vital importance to families throughout the country. The publication of the Childcare Support Bill represents a cornerstone for our radical new approach to childcare; changes that will not only benefit families now but also future generations” said Minister Zappone.

“The publication of the bill builds on a lot of initiatives already delivered this year as we strive, step by step, to transform one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world into the best. To date additional financial childcare supports have been delivered to the families of over 64,000 children, the innovative Access and Inclusion Model for children with disabilities is up and running and free pre-school education for all 3-year olds has been extended to two years from next September.”

In addition to the Childcare Support Bill, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs also today published a Regulatory Impact Analysis of the Affordable Childcare Scheme.

Full details of the Childcare Support Bill, the Policy Paper and the Regulatory Impact Analysis on the Affordable Childcare Scheme can be found by visiting or
The Childcare Support Bill will now proceed through the Houses of the Oireachtas over the coming months. At the same time, preparatory work is continuing apace on the other major elements of the scheme, such as the development of ICT and administrative systems.

Early Years and School Age Capital 2017 Returns

PobalLogoEarly Years and School Age Capital 2017 Returns

Please be advised, all outstanding EYC and SAC capital returns must be submitted to Pobal by the 30th of December 2017.

Any returns not submitted by that date WILL NOT receive the final 10% of the grant.

Services that do not submit returns will be subject to a funding de-commital and risk having to return the 90% of the grant that has already been paid.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs announces the commencement of all remaining provisions of the Children First Act 2015


Minister for Children and Youth Affairs announces the commencement of all remaining provisions of the Children First Act 2015
Statement by Dr. Katherine Zappone TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
Minister Katherine Zappone T.D., Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, today announced the commencement of all remaining provisions of the Children First Act 2015. These include the provisions in relation to mandatory reporting of child abuse and in relation to placing a legal obligation on organisations providing services to children to prepare and publish a Child Safeguarding Statement.

Confirming the commencement Minister Zappone said “It is 20-years since Mandatory Reporting was first proposed to protect our children. It is now a reality.

The commencement follows intense preparations and comes at a time when the budget of the Child and Family Agency Tusla is about to pass €750m for the first time.”

On 2nd October, in anticipation of full commencement of the Act, Minister Zappone, launched Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children [2017] which revises and replaces the 2011 edition of the Children First Guidance. The revised Guidance includes reference to the provisions of the Children First Act 2015 and is available on the website of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs at,

Also on 2nd October, Tusla launched an accompanying suite of Children First resource documents for those individuals and organisations who will acquire legal obligations under the Children First Act 2015. Tusla also launched a comprehensive 90 minute basic Children First e-learning programme, which is now being made universally available on line, free of charge. The Tusla suite of Children First resource materials and information on access to the e-learning programme is available at

In relation to reporting of child abuse, the Minister urged anyone with a reasonable concern about a child’s welfare to report their concern to Tusla. “Under the Children First Guidance, everyone should be aware of the possibility of child abuse, and should report reasonable concerns to Tusla.  The mandatory reporting requirements now coming into force supplement this by placing a legal obligation on certain categories of persons to report serious abuse to Tusla”. Tusla has created 17 dedicated contact points across the country for the receipt of reports, the details of which are on Tusla’s website.  In circumstances of greater urgency, mandated reporters can phone Tusla in advance of making such a report. The Minister stressed that under no circumstances should a child be left in a situation that exposes him or her to harm, or risk of harm, pending intervention by Tusla, stating that “If you think the child is in immediate danger and you cannot contact Tusla, you should contact the Gardaí”.

In relation to organisations working with children, the Minister acknowledged and commended all those who work so hard to make sure that every child they interact with is cared for, supported and protected. The Minister stated that the obligations on organisations providing services for children now being commenced, namely, keeping the child safe from harm, carrying out a risk assessment and preparing and publishing a Child Safeguarding Statement, are putting best practice on a statutory basis, and will contribute to continually improving safeguarding of children, in all settings.

The Minister encouraged all those working with children to familiarise themselves with their obligations under the Act, through the information and support resources being made available by her Department and by Tusla. She added: “We all share the same goal – to make Ireland a safer place for our most vulnerable citizens, our children”.

Parents of Children with Disabilities to be consulted on proposed changes to ‘overage exemption’ in free pre-school programme Planned changes to exemption paused to allow for full consultation

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

Parents of children with disabilities are to be consulted on plans to change current rules of the free pre-school programme, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.

Minister Zappone says while the proposals were intended to ensure optimal outcomes for children with a disability could be achieved, she has also been contacted by many parents concerned about the impact of the changes.

The Minister says these concerns deserve careful consideration – and while the consultation takes place the proposals for children with disabilities which were due to start in September 2018 will be paused.

Minister Zappone added:

“Everyone is entitled to be heard as we continue our path to truly accessible affordable quality childcare – that is the very core of my approach.

It is an approach which has delivered extra supports for 64,000 children, the establishment of the innovative Access and Inclusion Model for children with disabilities and the delivery of two full years of free pre-school education for all 3-year olds from next September.

Each of these steps have been welcomed. Our childcare policies are focussed on bringing best international practice to Ireland and that was the motivation behind planned changes to the free pre-school or ECCE programme.

The changes were based on expert advice from the disability, education and other sectors that the ‘overage exemption’ in the free pre-school programme was no longer needed – and did not serve the best interests of these children. They pointed to the fact that all children benefit from starting school with their peers, including those children with a disability, and progressing to secondary school with their peers. They reflected Ireland's law that all children should be in school by the age of six.

However I have become increasingly aware that parents, who must be central to decisions concerning their children, are concerned about the changes planned from September 2018.

In order to ensure those concerns are responded to, I am now pausing the changes and will shortly announce a consultation whereby all voices, including those of parents of children with disabilities, can be heard.

I do not want to predict the outcome of that consultation – but I will say that its results will be central to guiding our path forward.

Our other childcare changes continue to benefit more and more families and in the coming week I will take the next step by publishing a bill which will form the legislative backbone of our radical new approach to transform one of the world’s most expensive childcare systems into the best.”

Consultation on the Draft Quality and Regulatory Framework (QRF)

24 Tusla Prevention Partnership Consultation on the Draft Quality and Regulatory Framework (QRF)

The role of the Early Years Inspectorate is to promote and monitor the quality, safety and appropriate care of children by robust inspection of the sector. In order to support service providers we have been engaged in a process to develop a Quality and Regulatory Framework that sets out the requirements for compliance under the 2016 Early Years Regulations.

The Early Year’s Inspectorate is now inviting all interested parties to give their feedback on this draft of the QRF. The purpose of this consultation is

a) to provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to give their views
b) to understand any potential concerns or challenges emerging
c) to identify potential training and other needs arising.

The questionnaire opens on Thursday 30th November and will close on Monday the 15th January 2018

Please click HERE to access the survey and further information from Tulsa. 

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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