‘Milestone’ Bill on affordable childcare scheme is passed by Dáil

Government departments to share data in automated income assessment process

Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Legislation giving parents a clear legal entitlement to financial support for childcare has been passed by the Dáil and Seanad and now goes to the President for consideration.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone described it as a “milestone” and the “first ever legislation on childcare support for families”.

The Childcare Support Bill had been through the Dáil and was amended by the Seanad when it considered the legislation. The Dáil approved the amendments without a vote.

The scheme was announced as part of Budget 2016 and will replace the Government’s current childcare subvention scheme with a 'single streamlined scheme'

The Bill establishes the affordable childcare scheme which will provide financial support to parents to help reduce the cost of childcare.

The scheme will only be launched once work is completed on the necessary administrative and IT systems, but the Minister said this work was “well under way”.

The legislation will allow data sharing with other government departments and agencies as part of an income assessment process that will be carried out mainly “on an automated basis”.

The scheme was announced as part of Budget 2016 measures and will replace the Government’s current childcare subvention scheme with a “single streamlined scheme”, Ms Zappone said.