National Childcare Scheme (NCS)

Budget 2017 announced a radical redesign of how we deliver support to make quality childcare accessible and affordable for families in Ireland.  The National Childcare Scheme will provide financial support for parents towards the cost of childcare. It will provide a system from which both universal and targeted subsidies can be provided towards the cost of childcare.

This new scheme will replace the existing targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and more user-friendly scheme and will include “wraparound‟ care for pre-school and school-age children.

The National Childcare Scheme establishes an equitable and progressive system of universal and income-related subsidies for children up to the age of 15. Announcing the scheme, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone said:

“In 2017 we began to build a radical new system of financial support towards the cost of childcare under the working title of the Affordable Childcare Scheme. Today, with the scheme now in sight, we are launching it under its new name- the National Childcare Scheme.

The National Childcare Scheme is a landmark new Scheme for Ireland. It is the first ever statutory entitlement to financial support for childcare. Through this entitlement, the National Childcare Scheme aims to improve children’s outcomes, support lifelong learning, reduce child poverty and tangibly reduce the cost of quality childcare for thousands of families across Ireland”.

The Minister also announced a national Communications Campaign for the Scheme on Monday, 11th March 2019. The Communications Campaign will raise awareness and help both parents and providers to prepare for the Scheme’s opening in October 2019.  The campaign includes:

  • The launch of a new website:
  • The publication of a range of information resources, including general information leaflets, detailed booklets and Frequently Asked Questions. Further resources, such as online videos, ‘how to guides’ and a useful childcare subsidy calculator, will be added in the months ahead
  • A dedicated helpline from April onwards for parents who have queries in relation to the new Scheme
  • A nationwide training programme for providers, providing over 12,500 training places across 600 venues, with webinars and e-learning options also available (available to book via Eventbrite)
  • A media campaign in May encouraging parents to get a MyGovID verified account so that they can access the Scheme in the fastest, most user-friendly way
  • A major information campaign in September and October

Additional information and an overview of the timeline of key events taking place between March and October 2019 is available on the new National Childcare Scheme website-

The full announcement relating to the launch of the National Childcare Scheme can be found here.


National Childcare Scheme, Early Learning & Care: Capital Funding

The funding will allow service providers, who sign up to the new National Childcare Scheme to purchase ICT support, which will assist them in recording and reporting children’s attendance.

Programme Contact Details

Pobal Support

T. 01 511 7222