The National Childcare Scheme (NCS)
The National Childcare Scheme is a landmark new Scheme for Ireland. It is the first ever statutory entitlement to financial support for childcare. It establishes an equitable and progressive system of universal and income-related subsidies for children up to the age of 15. It also provides an innovative and user-friendly online application process to access those subsidies.
Through all of the above, the National Childcare Scheme aims to improve children’s outcomes, support lifelong learning, make work pay, reduce child poverty and tangibly reduce the cost of quality childcare for thousands of families across Ireland.
What is the National Childcare Scheme?
The National Childcare Scheme is our pathway to truly accessible, affordable, quality childcare. From October 2019 it will replace all previous targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and user-friendly Scheme to help parents meet the cost of quality childcare.
Supports are available for families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years who are attending any participating Tusla registered childcare service, including any Tusla registered childminder.
There are two types of subsidies under the National Childcare Scheme:
Universal Subsidies are available to all families with children under three years old. They are also available to families with children over three years who have not yet qualified for the free preschool programme (ECCE). This subsidy is not means tested and provides 50c per hour towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 45 hours per week.
Income Assessed Subsidies are available to families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years. This subsidy is means tested and will be calculated based on your individual circumstances. Your rate will vary depending on your level of family income, your child’s age and educational stage, and the number of children in your family. The subsidy can be used towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 45 hours if you are working, studying or training, or in circumstances where you are unavailable for childcare, and a maximum of 20 hours if you are not working, studying or training.