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Child Care Costs

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Child Care Costs

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Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone)

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Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone)

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Katherine Zappone

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Snippet Contents:

Making childcare more accessible and affordable for families in Ireland is a key priority of my Department. I understand and empathise with parents on the issue of childcare costs. I wish to assure Deputy Broughan that steps are being taken to help alleviate these pressures.
 I understand that the Deputy refers to the ‘September Measures’ which relate to the introduction of a universal payment (a maximum of €1,040 per year) and the substantial increase of up to 50% in the targeted subventions available to families that need it most to support their return to work or training.
 Since September these additional supports have been available in 89% of services nationally and to date the families of nearly 66,000 are benefitting from these supports, including more than 31,000 children registered for the new universal subsidy.
 Recent data showed a rise in the cost of childcare last year for the first time in five years. The average cost of childcare in Ireland rose by €7 per week, which is well below the €20 per week on offer through the universal subsidy and significantly lower than the targeted subventions available, which amount to up to €145 per child, per week, up to age 15. 
 I understand that any rise in childcare fees is a very significant matter for any family. I hope that the additional subsidies noted above go some way to lessening the impact of these changes on families but fully accept that the Government must do more to improve affordability further and I am committed to achieving this. 
The past three budgets have seen an increase in investment in early years of over 80%. I will continue to seek more investment to assist parents by offering subsidies such as those above and I am working very hard on this. We are also closely monitoring fees and this will inform whether we need to take a different approach in future years. I have commissioned an Independent Review of the Cost of Delivery of Quality Childcare; which is underway and will examine what the real cost of delivering childcare is so that Government can be better informed of what appropriate fees are and the level of funding that is required to subsidise fees for parents. 
In the meantime I will continue to work to deliver quality, accessible, affordable childcare for all families in Ireland.