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Written Answers - Child Care Services

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 433.  Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty  asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  if she will expedite an application for childcare provision in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15 under the community employment training scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23935/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald My Department currently administers the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme, which provided funding to community not-for-profit childcare facilities to enable them charge reduced rates to disadvantaged and low income families; and the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) programme which provides free childcare places in both community and commercial childcare facilities to qualifying FÁS and Vocational Educational Committee (VEC) trainees and students. There is no record in my Department of an application in relation to the child referred to under any of these schemes. However, if the Deputy provides additional information to my Department, my officials will examine the matter further.

 434.  Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  when will the audit produced on foot of the recommendations in the report on the Roscommon Child Care case be published; the current primary community and continuing care areas where this audit has been completed, and where it is ongoing at present; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23945/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald An audit of neglect cases in Roscommon, Waterford and Dublin South-East has been completed by the HSE. In each area it was determined that a sample 30 cases would be reviewed. The HSE intends to [472]prepare a composite report of the audit in order to maximise the learning from this exercise. The matter of publication will be considered by the HSE when the composite report is completed. I am assured by the HSE’s National Director for Children and Family Services that quality assurance and audit of child protection cases is now an ongoing process in all HSE areas nationally.

 435.  Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  her plans to expand either community childcare subvention programme or other childcare supports; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23946/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald My Department currently administers three support programmes — the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme, the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) programme and the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme. The Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme provides funding to community childcare not-for-profit services to enable them to charge reduced childcare rates to low income and disadvantaged families. Community childcare services qualify for grant aid on the basis of the level of service they provide and the profile of the parents benefiting from their service. Because of the current budgetary situation no applications from service providers are being considered under this programme in 2012.

The Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) programme was introduced in September 2010. The CETS programme provides free childcare places in both community and commercial services to qualifying FÁS and Vocational Educational Committees (VECs) trainees and students. Again, due to the budgetary situation, no approvals for new childcare places are currently being considered under this programme. In the region of €63 million is being provided in 2012 to support the CCS and CETS programmes.

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme provides one free preschool year to all eligible children in the year before commencing primary school. Both community and commercial childcare services are eligible to apply to participate in this programme. Due to demographic pressures, which mean that the number of children eligible for the programme will increase by some 3,000, the cost of the programme is expected to rise to almost €176 million in 2012, an increase of almost €10 million and this funding has been provided for. The ECCE programme will continue to be evaluated and developed as resources permit. Future developments relating to early years care and education will be considered during preparation of the new National Early Years Strategy 2012.


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