Parents and guardians in Donegal have been encouraged to inform themselves about childcare supports potentially worth thousands of euro that will help them financially from this September.
There have been more than 173,000 page visits to an information website –affordablechildcare.ie – in the past month.
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone says; “Changes are coming in September which will benefit up to 70,000 children.”
“Supports are being provided in two ways; Firstly there is a universal support for all children aged between 6-months and 3-years old. This is not means tested. Secondly, we are providing other supports for families who need it most.”
However, almost two thirds of the people visiting this website have been from the Dublin area, with Donegal families urged to check what they are entitled to.
Donegal Minister McHugh said: “Up to 70,000 children will have extra supports come into force at the start of the pre-school year, with some children receiving childcare benefits up to €7,500.
“This will really benefit families here in Donegal. Families should not miss out on this opportunity.
“We are enhancing existing targeted childcare supports by as much as 50%. There will be improved access to subsidies for providers – with the traditional Community Childcare Scheme (CCS) being extended to both community and private providers.
“Overall total spending on child care programmes this year is €466m – representing a 79% increase on figures in 2015. Now we must ensure that families receive the benefit of this.
“Families will benefit in two ways. Firstly, the changes will see a universal benefit for every child under 3-years old. Universal subsidies, of up to €1,040 per annum, which will be available for ALL children aged between 6 and 36 months in full time childcare.
“The second targeted support is based on income and also for those parents who have had to turn down jobs, training and education because they cannot afford childcare.”