Guidance on funding for childcare providers needed as parents may face higher fees
- Will parents have to pay more for full time care due to gap in funding for several weeks?
Families and providers need to know what the funding package for the childcare sector will be when it reopens, and what impact the decision to halt ECCE funding in April may have on fees for parents, said Labour’s Seán Sherlock.
ECCE usually runs from September to June for 38 weeks however funding for the scheme stopped on 10th April. Creches will often average out full time fees to parents over 12 months, and reduce fees by the level of available subsidy from that and other schemes.
Deputy Sherlock, Labour spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs said:
“Childcare providers were meant to be told by last Friday, 5th June what financial support would be in place when they reopen. As yet no advice has been issued to creches. There is a question mark over ECCE and other supports for over the summer months as funding was halted earlier than expected.
“With many providers reopening on 29th June, both they and parents need certainty as to what national funding will be provided and what fees parents will be expected to pay, and if there will be any increases for parents.
“If the level of State funding changes, then creches will seek to recover any loss from parents. There will also be higher costs for many providers. While some operators are advising parents of the same fees dependent on the usual subsidies and schemes, that is dependent on what supports materialise, and still we don’t know.
“There is a question mark over ECCE for example. The ECCE year usually runs for 38 weeks from September to June, but creche fees are often averaged out over 12 months for parents. With ECCE not due to resume until the end of August as the Minister has said and as would be usual there may be a financial issue for some providers. The ECCE funding was suspended from 10th April.
“There is a lot of uncertainty, and while providers are working to tease out the details, they really should know by now from the Department what the funding envelope will be.”