Zappone ‘may try to extend childcare subsidies to family minders’

The Government is coming under pressure to extend the childcare plans announced in Tuesday’s Budget.

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone has hinted she may try to extend the subsidies to more carers.

The scheme will provide parental means-tested subsidies towards the cost of childcare for children aged six months to 15 years and universal subsidies of up to €80 a month or €900 a year for all children aged between six months and three years. It specified the childcare provider must be registered with the State’s Tusla child agency.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny later clarified that childminders who work in the home – but who are registered with Tusla – will be eligible for the new childcare package.

While the means-tested childcare scheme is open to any family with a joint income under €47,500, those earning less than €27,500 will get the maximum benefits, of up to €5.38 per hour for a child aged under one. The Department of Children hasn’t worked out the subsidies for those earning €27,500-€47,500.

The subsidies will translate to about €20 per week for parents in the relevant income bands who use registered crèches and childminders.

However, after an ESRI report said children from lower-income families were more likely to…………

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