Budget 2019 Minister Zappone announces a €127m package
€89m increase for childcare
Introduction of new Affordable Childcare Scheme
o Maximum Net Income Threshold increased by 26% from €47,500 to €60,000 per annum
o Changes will benefit thousands of families; will bring an additional 7,500 children into the scheme, with improved subsidies for over 40,000 others
€33m increase in Tusla funding
o Implementation of HIQA recommendations
o Extra funding for Family Resource Centres and Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Services
o Financial base secured with 4% increase over 2018
Tuesday 9 October 2018
Katherine Zappone TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has announced extra funding of €127m for child care and youth services, bringing the total investment by her Department to €1.5 billion for 2019.
The Minister said: I am very pleased that we have again delivered as promised on the commitment to continue investing in our children and young people. Today’s €127m package represents another significant step in ensuring access to high quality, affordable childcare and ensuring that Tusla is in a position to continue on its programme of service reform and targeted development of key services.
Budget 2019 represents another significant step in ensuring access to high quality, affordable childcare and education with annual investment now rising to €574m.
The additional €89m in 2019 will allow for thousands of families to benefit due to increased income thresholds under the Affordable Childcare Scheme. The significant increase in the maximum net income threshold from €47,000 to €60,000 per annum means that an estimated 7,500 more children will benefit from the scheme relative to the original proposals. Over 40,000 other children, already eligible, will see increases to their subsidies. The new measures ensure that families with, in some cases, a gross income of up to €100,000 will benefit from the scheme.
The Minister said: I am delighted we are able to increase income thresholds to bring more children and families into the scheme, I am also very pleased that I have managed to adjust the lower income band, meaning that maximum subsidy rates will now be paid to all families with a net annual income of up to €26,000 . This ‘poverty proofs’ the scheme by ensuring that families at or below the relative income poverty line will benefit from the very highest subsidy rates under the scheme.
Another significant element of the increased childcare provision in Budget 2019 is an additional €10m for the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM). AIM is a suite of resources that enables children with disabilities to access and fully participate in the ECCE scheme.
The Minister also commented that she was delighted to be in a position to allocate €0.5m to create a team of Childminding Support Officers to support the registration of childminders with Tusla and to help them upskill to required regulatory standards to be introduced in the coming years. Only childminders registered with Tusla will be able to offer the ACS.
The childcare providers who play an integral role in the delivery of all of the DCYA childcare schemes will continue to receive a Programme Support Payment in 2019. The amount for the PSP has increased from €18m to €19.4m, an increase of nearly 8%. The allocation for capital grant supports has also been increased by nearly a third from €6.8m to €8.8m with a focus on increasing the number of places available and supporting the transition of services to the new Affordable Childcare Scheme. Tusla will receive an increase of €33m in 2019 bringing its total allocation to €786m – an increase of 4% over 2018. The extra funding will be used to progress a number of key priorities including the implementation of recommendations made by HIQA on the management of child sexual abuse allegations and supporting Tusla to deliver on the Government’s commitments relating to unaccompanied minor refugees under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.
The Minister said: I strongly support Tusla’s important work and have secured an additional €110m for the agency since becoming Minister in 2016. The additional resources provided are necessary in order to deliver on a significant programme of service reform and have also allowed for targeted development of key services.
In this context the Minister acknowledged the work done by Tusla in 2018 in supporting and developing Family Resource Centres and is pleased to be in a position to provide for further investment and development. In addition, the increase in Tusla funding in 2019 will allow for further investment in Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence services.
In addition to the increases for childcare and Tusla, the Minister commented on a number of other important developments she wishes to progress in 2019. The increased funding for her Department will allow for the establishment of the Guardian ad Litem executive office in the Department to put in place a nationally organised and managed GAL service. It will also assist the Adoption Authority of Ireland meet increased costs they will experience in meeting responsibilities under the forthcoming Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill.
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