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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 667 - 698
 Header Item Cyber Security Policy
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Commencement of Legislation
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Funding
 Header Item Family Support Services
 Header Item Homeless Persons Supports
 Header Item Youth Justice Strategy
 Header Item Child Poverty
 Header Item School Expulsions
 Header Item Foreign Adoptions
 Header Item Early Childhood Care and Education
 Header Item Child Care Costs

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 938 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 87 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 667 - 698

Cyber Security Policy

 667. Deputy Noel Rock Information on Noel Rock Zoom on Noel Rock asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the actions her Department is taking to protect against cyber attacks after the NTMA website was temporarily down for several hours after a suspected hacking attack; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6876/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The ICT services for my Department have a comprehensive set of information security policies, procedures and controls in place to safeguard against cyber-attacks. The Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment provides assistance, support and cyber crime intelligence to all Government Departments. The CSIRT issued an advisory immediately following the NTMA hacker attack asking all Departments to update any vulnerable systems. All relevant updates are in place at my Department.

Child and Family Agency Staff

 668. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of staff in Tusla who have been designated as child protection trainers. [6947/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla has advised that it currently employs 36 (32.8 whole time equivalent) Training and Development Officers to provide a range of Learning and Development programmes including child protection training to Tusla staff.

Child and Family Agency Staff

 669. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of staff in Tusla who are trained in child protection and children first guidelines. [6948/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I am aware that it is Tusla policy to ensure all staff are trained in Child Protection and Children First guidelines as relevant to their role. Children First training is provided to all Tusla staff on an ongoing basis and refresher training is provided every 3 years. In 2016 alone the following Tusla staff were trained in Children First:

  - 317 Children First - Basic Training

  - 263 Children First - Refresher Programme

  Tusla staff also attend a broad range of Child Protection Training. Some examples of Child Protection Training carried out in 2016 are as follows:

CourseNo. of Tusla Staff Trained in 2016
Core Court Room Skills 154
Introduction to Court Skills 50
Domestic Sexual & Gender Based Violence (DSGBV) – Awareness & Response 145
Practice Development for Newly Appointment Social workers 100
Supervision - Making the most of Supervision for Supervisees147
Supervision - Staff Supervision Skills Training for Supervisors63
Foundations for Assessment26
Evidence Informed Practitioner Programme71
Legal Briefing Seminar 114

Commencement of Legislation

 670. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her plans in terms of training and support to ensure full implementation of the Children First Act 2015. [6949/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Since the Children First Act 2015 was signed into law on 19 November 2015, a number of provisions of the Act have already been commenced as follows: Sections 1 to 5 (Part I) and section 28 (Part V) of the Act were commenced on 10 December 2015 and Section 18 (Part III) and Sections 20-26 (Part IV) were commenced on 1 May 2016. I have recently committed to commencement of the remaining provisions of the Act by end 2017.

In preparation for the commencement of the remaining provisions of the Act, my Department and Tusla are in the process of developing a suite of resources to support the full implementation of the Act. This includes the revision by my Department of the Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children and the preparation by Tusla of guidance documents in relation to child safeguarding statements and mandated assisting. In addition, Tusla is developing a comprehensive Children First e-training module which will be universally available free of charge and will set out the information required to recognise and report child welfare and protection concerns.

It is intended that this suite of resources will be launched prior to the commencement date to give persons and organisations who will acquire legal obligations under the Act sufficient time to familiarise themselves with the resources.

Child and Family Agency Funding

 671. Deputy Joe Carey Information on Joe Carey Zoom on Joe Carey asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the position regarding the funding by Tusla for the provision of counselling services in national schools and specifically relating to a case (details supplied). [6990/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I wish to inform the Deputy that I share his concerns regarding this scheme, and that I intend to meet with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency on this issue. I have been advised by Tusla that the School Counselling Grants scheme, was established in 1994, to provide counselling support for children affected by bereavement or loss. In 2011 this scheme was closed to new entrants while under the remit of the Family Support Agency. The scheme came under the remit of Tusla upon its establishment in 2014.

Tusla recognises the necessity for bereavement and loss counselling in schools and those schools in receipt of funding under the School Completion Programme may utilise up to €5,000 of this funding for such services. In addition Tusla provides child counselling through the Agency’s Family Support Services funding. In 2016 funding for child counselling was increased under this scheme by €154,000 to €680,000. In particular child counselling funding to approximately 70 Family Resource Centres around Ireland was increased to €242,000.

Tusla is the main funder of Barnardos Children’s Bereavement Service, which works to support children and families coping with bereavement. Funding of €154,600 was provided to this service in 2016. The Agency is also committed to the funding of Rainbows Ireland, which provides group based support to children dealing with loss following parental separation/divorce or a death. The Rainbows programme is currently delivered in over 250 schools and community based centres around the country. Funding in 2016 was increased by €15,000 to €250,000 annually. Together with the Irish Hospice Foundation Tusla co-funds the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network, which works to improve awareness and support of bereaved children. It provides information on how to support bereaved children targeted at professionals, teachers, schools and families. Tusla provided €35,000 in funding to this initiative in 2016.

Family Support Services

 672. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if her Department has undertaken any study or research in association with the Department of Justice and Equality regarding the damage to children affected by parental imprisonment; the way in which this could be addressed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7067/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department has not engaged in any specific study related to potential damage to children affected by parental imprisonment.

  However, I note, my cabinet colleague Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald T.D. has been advised by the Irish Prison Service of the Department of Justice and Equality, that following publication of the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) report entitled: “Picking Up the Pieces: The Rights and Needs of Children and Families Affected by Imprisonment” in November 2012, the Director General of the IPS established the Families & Imprisonment Group (FIG) chaired by a Prison Governor, tasked with examining existing visiting facilities for all prisoners and in particular to address the needs of children and families as highlighted in the report.

  The Irish Prison Service recognises

  - the importance for those in prison of maintaining, and if at all possible, developing their relationships with their children and families.

  And

  - that parent-child visitation is one of the most important elements to ensure the well-being of children when their parent is imprisoned.

  Parent-child visitation can substantially decrease the negative impacts of imprisonment by preserving the child’s relationship with the parent. Maintaining contact during imprisonment has also been correlated with reduced recidivism rates by the parent.

  Following a period of research, which included a detailed survey of existing visiting facilities and supports, the Families & Imprisonment Group (FIG) identified a number of essential pillars that should be in place to ensure that visits in Irish Prisons become a core element of rehabilitation and support for both the people in our care and their families. The essential pillars identified by the FIG are as follows:

  - Communications

  - Physical Improvements

  - Staff training

  - Parenting courses and resettlement interventions

  - Community Partnerships

  A pilot parenting programme entitled ‘Parenting Plus’ was developed in partnership with Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) and delivered in Limerick prison in 2015 and 2016 as part of an overall ‘Family Links’ Programme. The programme aims are:

  - To support small groups of prisoners to better understand their parenting role, and to develop practical skills which support them in positive parenting;

  - To develop a parenting programme specifically for the prison population, which is effective and replicable;

  - To support partners of prisoners to engage positively with their children and to offer families consistent language and approaches;

  - To maximise opportunities for positive parent-child engagement within the limitation of a custodial setting;

  - To increase awareness of and responsibility for supporting, positive parenting as an important element of imprisonment and resettlement planning.

  A number of significant objectives have been achieved so far; most notably enhanced staff training, delivery of the ‘Parents Plus’ parenting programme, the establishment of more family-friendly visits, and refurbishment of visit spaces.

  In addition, Family Liaison Officer training has been provided by the IPS to enable participants to:

  - Understand the role and function of a Family Liaison Officer;

  - Understand the logic model process, and the rationale and evidence underpinning the Family Links programme;

  - Have knowledge regarding community services and structures supporting and working with children and families;

  - Have an understanding of the experience of being a parent in prison and the impact on family dynamics;

  - Heightened empathy for, and ability to support, parents in prison.

  An independent evaluation of the Family Links Programme in Limerick which was undertaken by the University of Limerick was launched by the Tánaiste yesterday (13 February) in Dublin.

  Finally, I note that children may be impacted by events affecting their parents, for instance parental ill health, mental health problems or parental absence, by way of the need to work away from home or by imprisonment.

  Where this is the case, parents can seek assistance from family support services in their communities by direct referral or through a child welfare referral to Tusla. Such services can provide child counselling, family therapy or art and play therapies to help children understand and deal with their feelings, and to assist the parent who is caring for them.

  In relation to children (under 18) in detention any issues of concern are addressed by their individual care regimes.

Homeless Persons Supports

 673. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the mental health or counselling supports her Department is providing to the over 2,500 homeless children across the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7224/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone While my Department and Tusla have no responsibility in relation to mental health services, I would like to inform the Deputy of Tusla’s response, relevant to this area.

A child, irrespective of accommodation status, who comes to the attention of Tusla and whose circumstances are such, will, where the appropriate threshold has been reached, have an assessment carried out by a social worker.

Where Tusla has concerns regarding the welfare and development of a child, due to parenting difficulties or adverse environmental factors, they will provide family supports to assist the family and child.

If during the course of an assessment the social worker forms the view that a further mental health assessment is required an appropriate referral will be made for the child in question. Social workers do not carry out mental health assessments or monitor mental health. Mental health service provision, in a similar vein, is not the responsibility of Tusla. As with other therapeutic and general medical services, Tusla relies on other State agencies for the delivery of the appropriate support.

Policy in relation to mental health and associated service provision is a matter for the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive respectively, who may be able to provide further and particular information to the Deputy.

Youth Justice Strategy

 674. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her views on the high number of young persons held on remand here which, according to her Department, reached 263 in 2015 and of whom 93 received detention orders; the measures her Department is taking to tackle the over-use of detention on remand for children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7225/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Irish Youth Justice Service oversees a significant investment in community based programmes to divert young people from further involvement in criminal or anti-social behaviour. In 2016, approximately €17 million has been allocated by the Department of Justice and Equality to the Irish Youth Justice Service to administer Garda Youth Diversion Projects, Young Persons Probation Projects and a number of other youth diversion community-based projects. In 2015, 7,282 children were admitted to the Garda Diversion Programmes. These projects also benefit from support under the European Social Fund.

Under Section 88 of the Children Act 2001, a court may remand a child in custody who is charged with or found guilty of an offence, who is being sent forward for trial, or in respect of whom the court has postponed a decision. The discretion as to whether or not to remand a child in custody is solely for the decision of the judge hearing the case.

As part of the Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018, a key commitment was the development of a Bail Supervision Scheme. The scheme, which is currently operating on a pilot basis, provides more therapeutic supports in the community for children who are subject to bail conditions. The service provides a ‘wraparound’ service to the young person and their family with a prescribed reporting system back to the courts through the appropriate statutory bodies; Probation Service, An Garda Síochána and Oberstown. The scheme offers greater options to the courts in the knowledge that closer monitoring will take place through interaction with the young people, their families and communities.

It should be noted that in 2015, of the 263 orders to remand, these related to 163 children. Furthermore, of the 93 orders issued by Courts to detain children in Oberstown, these related to 87 children.

Child Poverty

 675. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will establish a cross-departmental task force to address a crisis (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7230/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone In recognition of the higher risks and life-long consequences of child poverty, the Government set a child-specific poverty target in Better Outcomes, Better Future: the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020 to reduce consistent child poverty by at least two-thirds by 2020. This figure currently represents 102,000 children.

  Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures is a whole of Government policy framework, which requires all Departments and Agencies to work collaboratively to improve outcomes for children and young people. The Children and Young People’s Policy Consortium, which I chair, has responsibility for whole of Government implementation, and includes representatives from all government Departments and Agencies.

  The Department of Social Protection has the lead role in coordinating government strategies on child poverty. It also has lead responsibility for the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion and has identified child poverty as a key cross-sectoral priority to be addressed.

  Officials in my Department are working closely with the Department of Social Protection in informing the development of this cross-sectoral priority.

  Officials in the Department of Social Protection have co-convened a subgroup with members of the Advisory Council for Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures to progress solutions to child poverty. This included representatives from NGOs with a focus on the issues facing lone parents.

  In recognition of the fact that child poverty is a multi-faceted problem, this group also includes officials from other Departments, including the Department of Health and the Department of Education and Skills.

  Led by the Department of Social Protection, this group has developed a paper which outlines a whole of Government approach to tackling child poverty. This is based around the three pillars outlines in the EU Recommendation on Investing in Children:

  - Access to adequate resources

  - Access to affordable quality services

  - Children’s right to participate.

  This paper covers issues relating to my Department, such as childcare, prevention and early intervention and family support, as well as issues in other Departments, such as healthcare inequalities, DEIS schools, and income supports. It also recognises that children of lone parents are particularly at risk of poverty.

  This paper will be discussed at the Children and Young People’s Policy Consortium in February.

School Expulsions

 676. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of post-primary expulsions by school in County Louth in 2014-15 and in 2015-16. [7238/17]

 677. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the total number of post-primary expulsions in County Louth in 2014-15 and in 2015-16 [7239/17]

 678. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of post-primary notices of intention to expel, by school, in County Louth for 2016-17. [7240/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I propose to take Questions Nos. 676 to 678, inclusive, together.

  The following tables outline the school based expulsions by individual school and in total for County Louth for the school years 2014/2015 and 2015/2016. Tusla has advised that in order to protect students who could be easily identified the schools should not be named, as only one student was expelled in some schools in small towns.

PP Expulsions – Louth - 2014/2015

SchoolNumber
School A1
School B1
School C4
School D1
Total7


PP Expulsions – Louth - 2015/2016
SchoolNumber
School A1
School E2
School F2
School G1
School C5
School D1
School H1
Total13


  The following tables outline the school based Notifications of Intention to Expel in County Louth for the school years 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.

  Notice of Intention to Expel – Louth – 2014/2015
SchoolNumber
School F1
School C4
School B2
School D1


  Notice of Intention to Expel – Louth – 2015/2016
SchoolNumber
School C5
School I1
School A1
School G1
School E2
School F2
School H1
School D1


Co. Louth - Notice of Intention to Expel 2016/2017 (To Date)
School A3
School B1
School C3
School D1
School E2
School F1

Foreign Adoptions

 679. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the documentation that must be supplied in order that the adoption of a child from Morocco be recognised here. [7282/17]

 680. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if the State has recognised any foreign kafala adoptions here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7283/17]

 681. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the process that a person (details supplied) must go through to have the kafala adoption of their child from Morocco, that is legally recognised in that jurisdiction, recognised within this State. [7317/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I propose to take Questions Nos. 679 to 681, inclusive, together.

  The Adoption Authority of Ireland (the Authority) has responsibility for determining whether an adoption may be recognised in accordance with the provisions of the Adoption Act 2010. The Authority has advised that to give recognition to an adoption effected in another country by applicants habitually resident in the country where the adoption is effected, the adoption would have to inter alia conform to the definition of a 'foreign adoption' as defined in section 1 of the Adoption Act 1991 and the application for recognition would have to be accompanied by a valid adoption order from that country. The Authority has a legal opinion in relation to the laws of Morocco which deem them not to be in conformity with Irish Adoption Law, i.e. the effects of an adoption under Moroccan Law would not be the same as that of an adoption effected under Irish Adoption Law. It should also be noted that an order of Kafala is not an adoption order and the effects of Kafala are not on a par with an adoption as defined in Irish legislation. The Adoption Authority has not recognised orders of Kafala in the past.

Early Childhood Care and Education

 682. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if, with regard to eligibility for the second ECCE year, an application can be considered in respect of a child whose date of birth falls marginally outside the qualifying date but certain extenuating circumstances apply; her Department's policy relating to exceptions to the eligibility rule and the basis on which exceptions can be made; the process concerned; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7376/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone As the Deputy will be aware, the Early Childhood and Education Programme (ECCE) programme was expanded from September 2016 so that children may start free pre-school from age three, and can continue in free pre-school once the child is not older than five years and six months at the end of the relevant pre-school year.

Three different points in the year - September, January and April – are in place to maximise access for these children within the overall eligibility parameters.

An upper age limit in free pre-school was set by the Inter-Departmental Group on Future Investment on the advice of the Department of Education and skills. Limiting the diversity in age ranges in primary school is considered to be generally in the best interest of children, in relation to peer interaction in junior infants, as well as other educational considerations.

Parents may request an exemption from ECCE eligibility criteria under limited circumstances from the Department; specifically where a diagnosed special need exists. However, this must be supported by a medical assessment report from the HSE or a listed medical specialist, specifying the child's special need and diagnosis. Further details including a list of relevant medical specialists is available on my Departments website.

Child Care Costs

 683. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7377/17]

 684. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7378/17]

 685. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7379/17]

 686. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7380/17]

 687. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7381/17]

 688. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7382/17]

 689. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7383/17]

 690. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7384/17]

 691. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7385/17]

 692. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7386/17]

 693. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7387/17]

 694. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7388/17]

 695. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7389/17]

 696. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7390/17]

 697. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances(details supplied). [7391/17]

 698. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied). [7392/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I propose to take Questions Nos. 683 to 698, inclusive, together.

  The universal element of the Scheme will be available to all families with children between the age of six months and 36 months (or until the child qualifies for the free pre-school programme if later than 36 months). The targeted element of the scheme will involve a progressive system of income-related subsidies for parents with children between 6 months and 15 years, with eligibility based on net parental income. A family may receive either the universal or the targeted subsidy, not both. The subsidy provided will be whichever of the universal and targeted payment is most favourable to a family.

  The scheme will be available in childcare providers who are registered with Tusla, including both centre-based childcare providers (e.g. crèches, preschools and daycare centres) and child-minders.

  For parents with net incomes up to €22,700 per annum, the maximum rate of childcare subsidy will be payable. The rate of subsidy will taper downwards as net income rises, with no means-tested/income related subsidy payable when net income reaches €47,500. For families with net income levels above this threshold, the universal subsidy may be available, depending on the age of the child.

  The amount of subsidy provided, in relation to both the universal and targeted subsidies, depends on (a) the number of hours of childcare used per week, and (b) the number of weeks of childcare used per year. The amount of subsidy does not depend on the number of hours worked, except in that a maximum of 15 subsidised hours of childcare will be available if a parent is engaged in neither work nor study. The subsidy estimates in the table assume that each family uses 40 or more hours of childcare per week, and pays for year-round childcare. If fewer than 40 hours of childcare are used per week, or childcare is used for only part of the year, the annual subsidy will be reduced pro rata.

  The subsidy estimates in the table assume that the families in question have no income from other sources, including no other social welfare payments, and that they are making no pension contributions. It should be noted that the amount of subsidy payable will also depend on other incomes that a family may receive, as well as on the family’s tax arrangements, their level of pension contributions, and other arrangements such as maintenance payments. For these reasons, the assumptions in the table regarding net income as assessed for the purpose of the Affordable Childcare Scheme are solely illustrative, and may not necessarily apply in any given family’s situation.

  It should also be noted that net income as assessed by the Affordable Childcare Scheme is reduced if a family has more than one child under the age of 15.

PQ numberAssumed gross incomeAssumed net incomeHourly subsidy rate for 1 year oldMaximum annual subsidy for 1 year old
683Below base income thresholdBelow base income threshold€4.37€3,409 (assuming max 15 hours per week)
684Below base income thresholdBelow base income threshold€4.37€9,090 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)
685Below base income thresholdBelow base income threshold€4.37€9,090 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)
686Below base income thresholdBelow base income threshold€4.37€3,409 (assuming max 15 hours per week)
687Below base income threshold (assuming work is paid at minimum wage)Below base income threshold (assuming work is paid at minimum wage)€4.37€9,090 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)
688€28,860€28,306€3.50€7,280 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)
689€38,480€36,276€2.25€4,680 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)
690€28,442€28,245€3.50€7,280 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)
691€29,442€29,072€3.38€7,030 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)
692€30,442€29,822€3.26€6,780 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)
693Below base income thresholdBelow base income threshold€4.37€9,090 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)
694Below base income thresholdBelow base income threshold€4.37€9,090 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)
695€30,566€30,011€3.23€6,718 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)
696€69,332€56,898€0.50€1,040 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)
697€74,813€59,694€0.50€1,040 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)
698€79,398€62,032€0.50€1,040 (assuming max. 40 hours per week)


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