Fine Gael is delivering on its election commitment to help ease the financial cost of childcare for hard-pressed working families.
Parents are being encouraged to visit AffordableChildcare.ie to learn about new childcare supports coming on stream in September.
Up to 70,000 children will have extra supports when new affordable childcare measures, announced recently by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, come into force this September.
A new universal childcare subsidy, of up to €1,040 per year, is available for children aged from 6-months up to starting their free pre-school year (ECCE Scheme) at 36 months.
In addition to this universal payment, there will also be further childcare supports for families who need them most. Families on lower incomes, who qualify by way of a means test, will be eligible for supports worth up to €7,500 per year for children aged 6 months to 15 years of age. The aim is to ensure that parents previously prevented from taking up jobs, training or education because of the cost of childcare, will now be able to do so.
Speaking today at a Fine Gael event to promote AffordableChildcare.ie, Alan Farrell TD and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs said: “Fine Gael is building a Republic of Opportunity where everyone has an equal chance to succeed.
“There can be no inequality when it comes to parenting. That’s why we are making childcare more affordable with this universal subsidy. However, we are also ensuring that low income families receive additional supports to ensure we help those who need it most.
“Since entering Government Fine Gael has prioritised children and families. The free pre-school year (ECCE scheme) we introduced and later extended to two free years has been hugely beneficial to families saving them on average €4,000 per child. Now with these new measures coming on stream in September, families with children under 3 years of age can also benefit from State supports.
“We introduced two weeks paid Paternity Leave for new fathers for the first time in the history of the State.
“Under 6s now benefit from GP care and an extra 10,000 children now qualify for a medical card thanks to it being extended to those on Domiciliary Care Allowance.
“We have provided for 47,000 extra breakfast club places to benefit children and the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance has increased by 25%.
“I encourage parents to check out the website http://affordablechildcare.ie/ to find out about the new childcare supports are available to them this coming September.”