Parents can start registering their children with childcare providers from the 21st August 2017, with 2,280 services ready to deliver increased supports, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone. The Minister says a turning point has been reached as ‘years of under-investment by successive governments are finally corrected’. Families have access to two types of supports – a universal element for all children aged 6-36 months and then targeted supports for those families who need it most. This targeted support will for some families represent a 50% increase with supports of up to €7,500 per child per year for children up to 15-years of age. Overall up to 70,000 children will benefit from both measures.

Welcoming the start of registrations Minister Zappone added: “For children, parents and providers the radical change in approach to childcare starts becoming real now. Registrations get underway with crèches, preschools and other childcare services today – and will continue for weeks to come. This is an important moment. It is the first big step to turning our childcare system from being one of the most expensive in the world into the best. An extensive information campaign is underway. The first stop for parents should be www.affordablechildcare.ie before contacting their local provider. The level of interest is huge with hits now approaching 400,000 since the site launched.

The number of childcare services already on board to deliver the extra supports is very encouraging – and continues to increase every-day. We have 2,280 which have already completed their contracts with the Department for delivery of new family supports – it is worth noting that this figure includes 1,011 Full Day Care Services. While investment in the early years sector is up 80% since 2015 to €466m this year there is still much more to do. The next milestone must be bringing that figure over half a billion euro so we can continue building a childcare system which will deliver for Irish families for generations to come.”