Avril McMonagle, Manager of Donegal County Childcare has welcomed the announcement that parents in Inis Eoghain can now avail of the new Subsidised After-School Child Care Scheme.
The scheme, launched in April was not available in Donegal in the first two phases of roll-out but has now been opened to parents across the county.
According to the Inishowen native the subsidised after-school child care scheme is a new initiative to support low-income and unemployed persons to return to the workforce.
The scheme provides for 6,000 subsidised afterschool childcare places nationally for certain social welfare income support recipients who enter employment, or who increase their days of existing employment, and have children of primary school age.
She explained: “To be eligible for this scheme, criteria includes being in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA), in receipt of JA or a combination of the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP), take up either a full-time or part-time employment opportunity, or increase the number of days of your existing employment, start on a Community Employment (CE) or Tús scheme, and have one or more children aged between 4 and 13 years who are attending primary school.
“If you need part-time after-school child care, you will be offered a place for 3 days per week at a subsidised rate of €12 per week, which you pay directly to the child care provider. If you need full-time after-school child care, you will be offered a place for 5 days per week at a subsidised rate of €20 per week, which you pay directly to the child care provider.”
Ms McMonagle commented that as school aged childcare is now set to become a growing area of provision, it is imperative now that the promised legislation to bring school aged childcare services under the regulatory framework is brought forward without delay.
“This level of public investment needs to be further endorsed by ensuring that services meet minimum regulations in order to protect both children and staff working in school age childcare services in Donegal,” she said.
To apply for the subsidised after-school childcare scheme parents in Inishowen can contact the local Intreo Centre, Mc Carters Road, Ardaravan, Buncrana.where they will be provided with information and a form for completion by your employer. Return this to your local Intreo Centre where, if you are eligible, you will be provided with a letter confirming your eligibility and the amount of after-school childcare that you require.
Parents will then be referred to Donegal County Childcare where they will be asked to provide evidence of completed forms and a letter of eligibility from the Social Welfare Office. Donegal County Childcare will then connect parents with the relevant school age childcare providers in your area.