Homeless children under 12 to receive free childcare

Homeless children under 12 to receive free childcare

By Aura McMenamin

Homeless children aged 12 and under will receive free childcare, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs announced today.

The free childcare, which will cover the summer months and all school holidays, has been available to children under five years old since January.

Katherine Zappone TD 09052016

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said: I believe every child should have access to childcare, no matter what their background, income or family circumstance. It is an ambitious goal but one which we must reach if we are to have genuine accessible affordable quality childcare.”

There were over 2,700 children living in emergency accommodation - which includes hotels and B&Bs - according to government figures from the end of May.

The funding comes from the Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement Transitional programme (CCSRT).

Homeless families currently receive a flat rate of €110 per week for each child under CCSRT. The funding covers childcare for five days a week and is part-time – between three-and-a-half and five hours a day.

Children experiencing homelessness will also receive €62.50 per week for seasonal childcare.

Minister Zappone announced that children of families who arrived in Ireland as refugees as part of the government’s Relocation and Resettlement Programme will also receive free childcare for up to 60 weeks, an increase from eight weeks.

The Minister said: “Families arriving into Ireland from the ‘hotspots’ along the Mediterranean will benefit.

“The extension will assist integration and create space for parents, guardians and older family members to seek jobs, training and education. It will assist them to resettle and restart their lives in Irish communities which will become home.”

The Dublin South-West TD spoke of her department’s commitment to making childcare accessible, saying: “Childcare in Ireland is changing forever. We are transforming one of the most expensive systems in the world into one of the best.

“Accessibility is a key challenge we must address to reach this goal. These announcements underline our commitment to achieve that goal.”