Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.11 10 Jun 2020


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Children's Minister Katherine Zappone has announced a package worth €75m to help re-open the childcare sector post-COVID-19.

Creches and other facilities are set to re-open their doors from June 29th.

As part of the plan, the Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (TWSCS) will continue to operate up to June 28th.

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It will provide an 85% - or 70% for higher incomes - contribution towards the cost of wages.

While a new funding model has been outlined with four elements.

It will see a once-off re-opening grant of €18m for centre-based providers opening on June 29th and late August.

The department says this will help providers with operational costs, including: additional staffing costs, training to staff on guidelines for re-opening, additional learning resources and to buy hygiene and cleaning products.

The amount of grant for each individual provider will be based on the number of children on Department of Children and Youth Affairs schemes in the service before the COVID-19 pandemic.

childcare Source: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Services which open on June 29th, or within a week of that date, and who are open for six of the eight weeks until August 23rd will also be eligible to receive a higher grant than services which re-open in late August or September.

The department says this is in recognition of the fact that a reduced number of children are likely to attend services in the initial weeks of re-opening.

A once-off capital grant of €14.2m will be used to help facilities adhere to guidelines.

This grant can be used to improve hygiene facilities and outdoor play areas.

This will be allocated on a sliding scale, based on the number of children attending.

childcare Source: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

While a once-off childminder re-opening grant, worth €375, 000, will be provided.

A grant of €500 per childminder will be made to help them with the costs of re-opening.

Minister Zappone said that she believed the combination of these measures would facilitate a majority of the 1,800 services who normally open in July and August to re-open.

"Many parents need to return to work to support their families.

"Childcare is essential to this and a critical element in enabling our economy to get up and running again.

"We have clear public health guidance for the childcare sector on how this can happen as safely as possible.

"We now have a funding model which supports the public health guidance.

"I believe it supports the sustainability of the childcare sector. It is the first step back towards full capacity."

This suite of measures will run from June 29th to August 23th.

The Federation of Early Childhood Providers has welcomed the clarity, but said the plans 'fall short' for PPE and children with disabilities.

Chairperson Elaine Dunne said: "While we welcome the clarity from Government today, their guidelines fall short in every other aspect, particularly when it comes to children with disabilities.

"There is no funding for AIM services in the plan, meaning that children with disabilities may not be able to return to childcare.

"These children must be included in an overall plan and this needs to be addressed urgently, as we can’t leave these children behind."

On PPE, she said: "We pride ourselves on best practice and putting the health and safety of children first, but this guidance offers zero PPE support.

"Many in the sector are very worried that we won’t be able to give adequate protection for children and staff while giving reassurance to parents that it is safe".

"I am extremely fearful that hundreds of childcare providers won’t be able to open their doors on June 29th", she added.

"We need more support, and we are very happy to work with the Government and the department on this and we would welcome engagement with Minister Zappone.

"The federation would like to thank the minister, senior officials and the department for working extremely hard to present this plan."


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Capital Grant Childcare Childminder Re-opening Grant Children Crèches Federation Of Early Childhood Providers Grants Katherine Zappone Re-opening TWSCS Wage Subsidy Scheme

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