Updated: 13/10/16 : 08:00:41
Printable Version   Bookmark and Share Share This

national

Minister working on subsidy proposals for unregistered childminders

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone has said she is working on proposals to help parents who use unregistered childminders and cannot avail of the subsidies that were announced in Budget 2017 yesterday.

The scheme will provide parental means-tested subsidies towards the cost of childcare for children aged six months to 15 years and universal subsidies of up to €80 a month or €900 a year for all children aged between six months and three years.

The subsidies will be paid for children and young people attending a Tusla-registered childcare provider, including centre-based providers and childminders.

However, new report from the ESRI has said that parents from less well-off families are more likely to turn to relatives to mind their children.

RTÉ reports that the ESRI study highlights that unpaid relative care, by grandparents especially, is more common among less advantaged families.

Using data from the landmark longitudinal Growing Up in Ireland study, the report shows care by relatives is the most common type for infants with centre-based care becoming more commonly used for three-year-olds.

"Paid, non-relative or centre-based care is more common among more advantaged families; unpaid relative care is more common among less advantaged families," the ESRI said.

Ms Zappone this evening said she is working on proposals to help parents who have to use childminders who are not registered and therefore cannot avail of the subsidies.

She said said she was in talks with the sector to examine what supports could be put in place.

She said she hoped to have the proposals in place by next September.

One Family, an organisation representing people parenting alone, said the ESRI research indicated that "growing up in a single-parent family structure represents a source of inequality in children's lives".

Youth Work Ireland, an umbrella group for almost 500 youth clubs and organisations, says the ESRI study shows just how far Ireland needs to travel before it can be said that it is cherishing all children of the nation equally.

It welcomed Ms Zappone's initiative as the first concerted drive by Government to help young people who have been effected by the recession since the downturn began eight years ago.