Early Childcare Subsidies – What Parents Need to Know

Choosing a childcare provider is a very important decision for any parent. Several factors will play a key role in this decision, including location, the type of service provided (e.g. full or part-time hours) the quality of the service provided (e.g. the crèche facilities, standard of care and quality of the food provided), the service’s policies and procedures (i.e. that they are registered with Tusla and are compliant with child protection regulations) and the cost.

At Park Academy Childcare, providing the highest quality of childcare has always been our number one priority. We know that parents want best for their children and we strive to provide this in every aspect of our care. However we also understand that a family’s budget can have an influence on their choice of childcare provider.

Therefore we fully welcomed a proposal that emerged from the 2017 budget, which outlined new childcare subsidies for working parents availing of TUSLA registered childcare in Ireland.


The Affordable Childcare Scheme (ACS)

In 2017 a new national Affordable Childcare Scheme was introduced by the Government to provide financial support for working parents. This scheme has replaced previous targeted childcare programmes and represents a new, more streamlined approach to childcare support in Ireland. The aim of the Affordable Childcare Scheme was to provide both universal and targeted subsidies for parents, which would contribute towards the cost of their childcare.

At present the Universal Childcare Subsidy has been implemented but plans to roll out the second targeted scheme (named the Single Affordable Childcare scheme) have been delayed. Dr. Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, has confirmed that applications for this targeted scheme will open in mid-October 2019.


What is the Universal Childcare Subsidy?

The Universal Childcare Subsidy or CCSU (Community Childcare Subvention Universal) is a non means tested universal childcare subsidy that is available to all children in Ireland who fulfil the scheme’s criteria (outlined below).

The subsidy is paid to the childcare provider and therefore is deducted from the overall bill that a parent receives from their childcare service each month.


Is my child eligible for the Universal Childcare Subsidy?

In order for your child to be eligible for the Universal Childcare Subsidy they must meet the following conditions:

  • They must attend a Tusla registered childcare service (To find out how to check if your provider is registered see our ‘useful links & more information’ section at the end).
  • They must be above the age of 6 months and below the age of 36 months*

*When a child turns 3 years old they will then be eligible for the free Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme. In the case that a child is slightly older than 3 years old starting ECCE, they may continue to receive the Universal subsidy until they begin.

Note: Children younger than 6 months may qualify for a subsidy of up to €145 per week under the targeted childcare subsidy (or Single Affordable Childcare Scheme) due to be implemented in October 2019. However this will be a means tested payment. For more information on the planned targeted subsidies see our useful links section below.


What is the Universal Childcare Subsidy rate?

The subsidy payment is based on the amount of hours that a child attends their childcare service, with children enrolled in full-time childcare receiving the maximum amount of €1,040 per year towards their childcare fees.

Children who attend a childcare service for less than full-time hours will be allocated a pro-rata subsidy amount based on the hours that they attend.


How do I apply for the Universal Childcare Subsidy?

The first step is to contact your childcare provider to check that they are taking part in the scheme. The majority of childcare providers in Ireland have registered for the Universal Subsidy Scheme including Park Academy Childcare

You will then need to check that your chosen childcare provider is registered with Tusla, as this is a necessary requirement for receiving the universal childcare subsidy. See our useful links section at the end of this post to find out how you can check if a provider is registered.


What will I need to provide in order to receive the subsidy?

You will need to submit both you and your child’s names, date of births and PPSN numbers to your provider in order to register for the scheme. To register for the Universal Childcare Subsidy with Park Academy Childcare simply contact our enquiries team with these details.


Can I avail of both the Universal Subsidy & another targeted childcare subsidy at the same time?

You cannot avail of the Universal Childcare Subsidy and another targeted subsidy at the same time. In this case you will need to choose which subsidy is of greatest benefit to you and register for this subsidy only.


Useful Links & More Information


Top Tips for Choosing a Pre-school 

Compliance & Safety at Park Academy Childcare

The ECCE Scheme at Park Academy Childcare 

Special Offers & our Corporate Discount at Park Academy Childcare 

Find your nearest Park Academy Childcare crèche centre 

Contact our enquiries team about the Universal Childcare Subsidy, ECCE Scheme or other subsidies 

For more information on the Universal Childcare Subsidy 

For more information on the planned targeted (means tested) subsidies for October 2019 

List of  Tusla registered Early Years Services by county 

List of County/City Childcare Committees 

For more information on the assistance available for childcare costs