The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) has declined to provide an estimate as to when the ACS, originally slated for September 2017, will be able to officially launch.

THE GOVERNMENT’S SIGNATURE Affordable Childcare Scheme (ACS) is set to be delayed into next year due to issues surrounding the introduction of a comprehensive IT system.

The scheme was initially slated for full roll-out in September of last year.

Recently, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone wrote to childcare providers and told them that the system in question will not be ready for September 2018.

“Whilst the launch date for the full Affordable Childcare Scheme is not confirmed as yet I felt it was important to flag to childcare services at this early juncture that it will not be launching in time for September 2018,” she said, prior to an appearance before the Oireachtas Children’s Committee in late January.

The IT system in question has proven to be something of a thorn in the side of the department, with Zappone acknowledging as early as February 2017 that the initial rollout date of September 2017 could not be met.

The actual system itself has not yet gone to tender. It was initially hoped to launch the system via a framework provider, before an intervention by the Chief State Solicitor’s office determined it should be put out to bid.

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