The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone, announced on Monday that €4m is being provided to improve childcare services.
Minister Zappone says the funding will help put the infrastructure in place to support ambitious plans to turn Ireland’s childcare system from one of the most expensive in the world to the best.
The 2017 Early Years Capital Funding programme is to be made available to childcare centres, crèches and other early year services under three strands:
· Strand 1: Additional childcare places (€3 million)
· Strand 2: Building improvements and maintenance (€500,000)
· Strand 3: Natural outdoor play areas (€500,000)
Minister Zappone said; “As Minister I am determined that we will deliver quality, affordable, accessible childcare.
Our goals are ambitious. We must lift the cost barrier which is preventing too many families from accessing services.
Today (Monday 20th March 2017) we take another step to putting the infrastructure in place to support our plans by providing €4m in capital funding – matching the increased funding secured for the scheme last year.
I encourage providers to use this scheme to increase both the quantity and quality of childcare places.
This funding is in addition to €3m we announced earlier this month to improve childcare services for children of school-going age.
As this money is being made available I am also progressing the legislation which will underpin the radical new approach to subsidising childcare outlined as part of Budget 2017.
In the coming months we will continue progressing our plans with a view to ensuring that families will start benefiting in the Autumn.”
Pobal will be responsible for administering the programme on behalf of the Department. Further details and information on how to make an application for funding will be available shortly on the Pobal website www.pobal.ie.