Examining Childcare Schemes for 2013

The largest of the Government-funded childcare schemes is the Free Pre-School Year (ECCE scheme).

The largest of the Government-funded childcare schemes is the Free Pre-School Year (ECCE scheme).

The scheme offers ONE free year of pre-school to all children in Ireland in both private and community based pre-schools. Participating children are entitled to 3 hours per day, 5 days per week for 38 weeks.

Participating children for September 2013 must be born between 2nd Feb 2009 and 30th June 2010.

A list of participating services is available to download from our web site www.laoischildcare.ie or by contacting Laois County Childcare Committee.

Childcare services must operate the scheme FREE of charge to parents. Some services may charge optional extras. Parents are not obliged to avail of any optional extras. A letter outlining all optional extras should be received from the service, which parents can decide if they want or not. A signed copy of this letter plus the services fee policy must be provided by the service to the parents.

Parents should not be asked to pay any charges outside of what is outlined on this letter. Any parents with concerns regarding optional extras should contact Laois County Childcare Committee.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs also provide the Community Employment and Training Scheme (CETS). The CETS scheme provides childcare for children whose parents are participating in FAS or VEC training programmes. The VEC/FAS trainee will be given a letter by the relevant agency confirming their entitlement and a list of participating services locally. CE schemes, night courses, on-line courses and PLC courses do not qualify for CETS. The childcare service or the parent can contact Laois County Childcare Committee to avail of a place. Places on the scheme are limited and are currently offered on a first-come basis. Parents may be asked to pay a top up; this will be outlined on each services fee policy which will be provided to all parents.

The third of the major childcare funding schemes is Community Childcare Subvention (CCS). This scheme allows community-based childcare providers to offer reduced rates to parents that are in receipt of a social welfare payment. In order to avail of a place on the CCS scheme parents must contact their local community based childcare provider and book their child into the service. (Parents may be asked for proof of social welfare entitlement). Children must be enrolled in a community service by September each year to guarantee a CCS place.

Parents will be expected to sign parent declaration forms for all schemes