The countdown for more affordable childcare for families in Balbriggan and surrounding communities has begun, according to Independent Alliance Councillor Tony Murphy.
Cllr Murphy told the County Leader, “local childcare services will receive information in the post in the coming week about new arrangements which will see families benefit by an extra €19m nationwide. The mail-shot to providers is going to be followed by a major awareness campaign aimed at parents and families, which will be launched by the end of the month”.
He continued, “Local childcare centres will in the coming week receive a letter in the post, inviting them to become a registered provider offering state subsidised schemes. This will be followed at the end of the month with a major awareness campaign aimed at families. From September every child aged between six months and three years in registered childcare will get some level of support. The child can be in full or part-time registered childcare and there will be no minimum number of hours and no maximum number of weeks for eligibility”.
Independent Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, said” Switching our childcare system from being one of the most expensive in the world to one of the best was never going to be easy. But the countdown for more affordable childcare for North County families has begun. It is the first big step as we correct years of under investment in our childcare services by successive Governments. But let me assure families and providers that once we take this step, there will be no going back”.
Cllr Murphy continued, “In addition, the cost barrier will be lifted for those families who need it most. These targeted supports will be enhanced significantly with the top rate of subsidy available rising from €95 per week to €145 per week and part-time rates will increase to E80 per week. The extra money will be available for those parents who cannot enter work, training or education because they cannot pay for childcare. They will also be available to those who are working but on lower incomes and for whom the cost of childcare acts as a major disincentive”.