Calls for Budget 2017 childcare measures to be expanded

Only a facility registered with Tusla will be entitled to subsidies

Calls for Budget 2017 childcare measures to be expanded

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone at a presentation on the 2017 Social Protection budget | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Government is coming under pressure to change its childcare plans announced in the budget on Tuesday.

Means-tested childcare subsidies, based on income, will be available for children between six months and 15 years from September 2017.

Under the current proposals, only a childcare facility or childminder registered with Tusla will be entitled to the subsidies.

Full grants will only be provided to those in childcare for 40 hours a week, and less hours will means less of a subsidy.

The first subsidy is paid out directly to a childcare facility or childminder if your children are between six months and 3-years-old.

The second subsidy is means tested and paid to parents whose children are between six months and 15 years old.

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone says parents of pre-school children could see a saving of up to €4,000 per child.

It is believed that Minister Zappone may try to extend the subsidies to more carers.

But Teresa Heeney, of Early Childhood Ireland, told the Pat Kenny Show here on Newstalk if the scheme does change it will need to be carefully inspected.

"Well I don't think it makes any sense that the State would hand over taxpayer's money to something over which there's no monitoring mechanism.

"So if we want to do that, well then alongside that has to be investment in some kind of monitoring infrastructure."