State considers radical plan to help pay for childcare
Means-tested scheme is expected to be rolled out over a number of years from September
A radical new system of subsidised childcare that would mean the State pays a portion of a family’s bills directly to childcare providers is under consideration for next month’s budget.
The means-tested scheme is expected to be rolled out over a number of years, starting next September. It will begin by covering lower-income families which in some cases could see almost all of their childcare costs covered.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and other Ministers were briefed on its outline yesterday and an initial, indicative figure of € 47,000 income per couple was used – but sources stressed this was only an example and will not be the initial threshold that will apply when the plan is announced.
The plan from Minister for Children Katherine Zappone will be designed in such a way, however, that the level of subsidies can be easily increased or reduced should a government wish to do so.
It will be made possible because Ms Zappone intends to introduce standardised regulations for all providers who want to participate in the scheme.
Parents would log on to a website and provide their PPS numbers to see if they were eligible for subsidies, and at what level they would apply.
They would then choose a participating childcare provider. The State would pay the subsidy directly to the provider, with the parents paying the remainder of the bill.
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