What is the National Childcare Scheme (NCS)?
The NCS launched in November 2019 to provide financial support for parents towards the cost of their childcare. The introduction of the NCS is a landmark moment for making high quality childcare more affordable and accessible to families in Ireland.
The NCS is a streamlined scheme where parents continue to have access to a subsidy to meet the cost of their childcare. The scheme includes two types of financial subsidies towards the cost of quality childcare;
1) A universal subsidy payable for children aged between 24 weeks and 36 months who are availing of childcare from an approved childcare provider. It’s payable for children older than 36 months who do not yet qualify for the Early Childhood Care and Education Programme (ECCE). This subsidy is not means-tested and is available to all qualifying families at any income level.
2) An income-related subsidy payable for children aged from 24 weeks to 15 years who are availing of childcare from an approved childcare provider. This subsidy is means tested and the level of subsidy paid for the child is determined by the family’s reckonable income (gross income minus tax, other deductibles and any applicable multiple children discount). The reckonable income must be below €60,000.
The NCS does not provide grants to childcare providers in respect of their general operation, rather, it subsidises parents in respect of the cost of their childcare, subject to confirmation that childcare services are being provided and used.