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 according to Fine Gael TD and Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh.
Minister McHugh said: “I strongly encourage all parents and guardians here in Donegal to log on to the website and get informed.
“There has been a fantastic response to the nationwide campaign, however nearly two thirds of the people visiting the site come from the Dublin area.
“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.
“As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone has said, this is the first big step, but there is still much work to done in this area. I am assured that the Minister is focused on quality of childcare, accessibility and also recognition for the workers who provide services.”
Minister McHugh added: “Since first entering Government, Fine Gael has prioritised hard pressed working families; the people who bore the brunt of the economic recession. A major part of this has been to reduce the cost of childcare for working parents.
“We introduced the free pre-school year, and subsequently extended it to a second year. It is estimated the extended scheme provides an average saving of €4,000 per child.
“We also recently introduced paternity leave for the first time ever. Dads are now entitled to two weeks’ paid leave.
“I will continue working to ensure that parents across Donegal can avail of high quality and affordable care for their children when they need it. Fine Gael will continue to ease the financial burden on hard press working families.”
New Website: www.affordablechildcare.ie
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