What is the National Childcare Scheme?

The National Childcare Scheme Is our pathway to truly accessible, affordable, quality Childcare.

From October it will replace all previous targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and user-friendly Scheme to help parents meet the cost of quality childcare.

What will happen to the existing programmes?

For now, existing childcare programmes will continue to operate* until the lunch of the National Childcare Scheme. Applications for the current programmes can be mad up until October 2019. No new applications for these programmes will be available after the National Childcare Scheme opens.

To make the transition as smooth as possible, families can choose to make the switch to the new Scheme immediately in October or remain on their current programme for one final programme year.

The free preschool programme (also known as ECCE-the Early Childhood Care and Education programme) will not be affected.

How does the National Childcare Scheme work?

The National Childcare Scheme will support families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years who are attending any participation Tusla registered childcare service including any Tusla registered childminder. A full list of contracted childcare providers will be available on www.ncsgov.ie in the autumn.

There are two types of supports available under the Scheme: a Universal subsidy and in come Assessed subsidy.

Universal Subsidy

The Universal subsidy is available to all families with children under three years. It is also available to families with children over three years who have not yet qualified for the free preschool programme. The universal subsidy provides 50c per hour towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to maximum of 40 hours per week. It is not mean tested and can typically be calculated within minutes of applying via the Scheme’s online system.

What you will need to apply online:

A verified MyGovID account (your verified MyGovID is your single, secure account to unlock Irish Government services online. For more information on getting and using verified MyGovID to access the National Childcare Scheme visit www.mygovid.ie ).

The date of birth and Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) for each of the children you are applying for.

Your verified MyGovID is your single, Secure account to unlock Irish Government Services online. For more information on getting and using your verified MyGovid to access the National Childcare Scheme visit www.mygovid.ie

Income Assessed Subsidy

An income Assessed subsidy is available to families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years. This subsidy is means tested and will be calculated based on your individual circumstances. The subsidy rate will vary depending on your level of family income, your child’s age and their educational stage.

It can be used toward the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 40 hours per week where parents are working, studding or training, or in circumstances where a parent is unavailable to care for a child. Where parents are not working, studying or training, the subsidy will be paid for up to a maximum of 15 hours per week.

The maximum subsidy rates by age are set out below. Maximum rates are payable where reckonable* family income is under €26,000 per year. Rates reduce on a sliding scale as income rises but subsidies are payable in all cases where reckonable family income is less than €60,000 per year.

*Reckonable income is calculated by taking your net family income and deducting any allowable items under the Scheme, such as the Multiple Child Discount. In other words, it is your family income, including social protection payments, after tax, PRSI, USC, and any allowable items under the Scheme have been deducted. A full list of income deductions and exclusions will be available on www.ncs.gov.ie

busy-bee
Childs ageMaximum subsidy per hour
(Rates valid as of October 2019)
Less than 12 months old€5.10
12 to 35 months old€4.35
3 years old or older and not yet in school€3.95
At school€3.75

What you will need to apply online:

  • A verified MyGovID account.
  • Your children’s information such as date of birth and PPSN.
  • Your employment and income related details.
  • Your partner’s PPSN.
  • Your partner’s employment and income related details.

Which Subsidy am I eligible for?

The type of subsidy you are eligible for depends on your individual family circumstance’s, such as your family income and your child’s age. Useful resources to guide you are available on www.ncs.gov.ie. A subsidy Calculator will also be available when the Scheme launches. The Subsidy Calculator is a useful tool, which can help you understand which subsidy may benefit you most. Some sample families are described below. (all qualify for 40 hours of subsidised childcare per week).

Siobhan & Jack

Siobhan and Jack have two children; a two-year-old who needs 40 hurs of childcare and a5 year old who needs 17 hours of afterschool care per week. Siobhan is working full time and jack is studying. They have a gross income of €64,000per year. Under the scheme, their reckonable family income is €43,200 and they qualify for a total subsidy of €128 per week or 6,656 per year.                                                                                 

Jenny

Jenny has one child who is 2-year-old and need 40 hours of childcare per week. She is a lone parent, working full-time with a gross income of€26,500 per year. Under the Scheme, her reckonable family income is €26,000 and she qualifies for a subsidy of €175 per week or €9,100 per year.

Charlie and Sam

Charlie and Sam have three children; a one year old and 2-year-old twins who all 40 hours of childcare per week. Charlie works full time, while Sam works part-time. They have a gross income of €90,000 per year, under the Scheme, their reckonable family income is €51,000 and they qualify for a total subsidy of €176 per week or €9,152 per year.

How will I receive my Subsidy?

The National Childcare Scheme recognises the importance of choice for families. As such, you can avail of your subsidy by registering with any childcare provider participating in the Scheme.

Your subsidy will be paid directly to your chosen childcare provider once you have made arrangements with them. After your application has been approved you will receive a unique code, called a CHICK (Childcare Identifier Code Key). The CHICK, along with your child’s name and date of birth, are all your provider needs to register you child on the National Childcare Scheme. After you have confirmed you hours of childcare, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will pay the subsidy to your provider on your behalf. Your provider will than subtract your subsidy from your childcare bill.

How will the Subsidies work?

The National Childcare Scheme is Designed to be flexible, recognising that childcare needs are different for each family. The system has been designed to respond to these needs by providing subsidies which can be applied to the hours of care agreed between parents and providers. Parents and providers will continue to work tighter as they currently do, agreeing the amount of care based on a combination of what a parent needs and what a provider can reasonably offer. Services will continue to ser their own fees, sessions and decide their own admissions policies. The subsidy can then be applied to the hours of care agreed, up to the maximum amount available under the Scheme limits. Providers will simply subtract the subsidy from their published fee, giving parents access to lower childcare costs.

How to Apply

Applications for the National Childcare Scheme can be made online at www.ncs.gov.ie/parent using your verified MyGovID. A paper-based application can also be submitted by post. The Scheme is targeted to open to applications in October 2019, with the first payments flowing from November 2019.