CORK parents may be missing out on state subsidies for childcare, as almost half of eligible early-years centres have not signed up for the new Government scheme.
New figures released by the Department of Child and Youth Affairs show 45% of Tulsa-registered early years centres in the City and County have not yet signed up for its new Affordable Childcare scheme.
The new scheme entitles parents of under-threes to receive a payment of up to €20 a week towards their childcare.
According to the figures, just 255 of the 461 eligible early-years centres and creches in Cork have signed up for the scheme that began payments from last Friday, September 1.
It’s important to note that childcare providers can still sign-up for the scheme, Early Childhood Ireland director of policy Frances Byrne told the Evening Echo.
“Some providers will have signed up since and there is still time to sign up,” she added.
“But if they haven’t, what we’re saying to parents is just to go in and have a chat with the provider.” Some creches may have decided not to opt into the scheme as the administrative burden may be too time-consuming, she added.
“Generally as to why they haven’t signed up, providers are telling us that it's really to do with the admin burden.” “It takes ages to sign people up, inputting lots of information and it's time-consuming. Some providers have said it's not worth it but some have changed their minds since.” The scheme sees a universal payment for every family with a six-month old to a 36-month old of up to €20 a week towards childcare (€1,040 per year), with the poorest families to receive a subsidy of €148 per week.
However, it is a “sliding scale” according to Ms Byrne and it may work out that parents may be entitled to less than €20.
Some creches will have made a judgement call based on these entitlements versus the amount of admin involved.
“Go and talk with your provider, if your child is in a creche, make an appointment. If the providers still say no, parents next port of call in terms of advice is to the City or County child care committee.”