Letter from Minister re Budget 2023

The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman, has issued the following letter outlining the current and coming changes to funding for childcare in Ireland.

Read the full letter here

Excerpt from Minister O'Gorman's letter, 29th Sept 2022:

"Core Funding allows for a very substantial increase in the total cost base for the sector
without those costs being passed on to parents. The vast majority of services are seeing
substantial increases in funding. No service will see a decrease in funding.

With Core Funding in operation less than two weeks, key achievements already include:
- Fee freeze in place for over 90% services on at least September 2021 levels, to
ensure that developments in National Childcare Scheme (NCS) are fully realised
by parents
- Agreement of Employment Regulation Orders covering staff at all grades in the
sector and instituting differential pay rates for graduate staff in certain roles,
putting in place a career framework for staff in the sector to support recruitment
and retention.
- Improved pay for an estimated 73% of those working in the sector who will see
their wages rise as a result of the Employment Regulation Orders, which would
not have been achieved without Core Funding.

Government also supported enhancements to the NCS in 2022 by extending the
universal NCS subsidy of €0.50 per hour to all children under 15 and by ending the
practice of deducting hours in pre-school or school from NCS hours.
The cost of living in 2023, layered on top of already unacceptably high early learning and
childcare costs for families, is the focus of the Budget 2023 package for early learning
and childcare.

But with the foundation set through Core Funding, Budget 2023 has allowed the
opportunity to consolidate the achievements from Government’s 2022 investment and to
increase their impact for children and their families.

The funding in 2023 for the early learning and childcare sector provides for:
- A full year allocation for Core Funding.
- The continuation of the ECCE programme that will benefit more than 108,000
children in 2023
- The continuation of the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) to ensure more than
5,000 children with a disability can access and meaningfully participate in the
ECCE Programme.
- The continuation of the NCS, offering supports to a greatly expanded cohort of
children and families.
- The delivery of a range of regulatory and quality supports for the implementation
of the National Action Plan for Childminding, Nurturing Skills, the Workforce Plan,
and the ongoing development of the registration and inspection system as well
as policy development commitments set out in First 5 and the Programme for
Government (e.g. the design of a DEIS type model for early learning and
childcare).
Budget 2023 also introduces major reforms to the NCS from January 2023 that will
substantially improve the affordability of early learning and childcare for families.
Additional funding of €121m has been allocated from January 2023 so all families
accessing registered early learning and childcare will receive a minimum hourly NCS
subsidy of €1.40 off the cost of early learning and childcare. With the current minimum
hourly NCS subsidy set at €0.50 per hour, the represents an additional €0.90 per hour
off the cost of early learning and childcare.
This translates to up to €63.00 off parent weekly bill for early learning and childcare per
child. With up to €22.50 currently available per week, this represents up to an additional
€40.50 off weekly costs.
The response from providers to become Partner Services in delivering Core Funding has
been hugely encouraging and positive. With the scheme in operation less than two
weeks, there is already substantial evidence of success in progressing the objectives of
improved affordability and quality of early learning and childcare, as well as expanding
access."