From October 2019
the National Childcare Scheme will replace all previous targeted
childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and user-friendly Scheme
to help parents meet the cost of quality childcare. Supports are
available for families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years
who are attending any participating Tusla registered childcare service,
including all Little Rainbows early learning and care centres.
There are two types of subsidies under the National Childcare Scheme:
Universal Subsidies are available to all families with children under three years old. They are also available to families with children over three years who have not yet qualified for the free preschool programme (ECCE). This subsidy is not means tested and provides 50c per hour towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 45 hours per week.
Income Assessed Subsidies are available to families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years. This subsidy is means tested and will be calculated based on your individual circumstances. Your rate will vary depending on your level of family income, your child’s age and educational stage, and the number of children in your family. The subsidy can be used towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 45 hours if you are working, studying or training, or in circumstances where you are unavailable for childcare, and a maximum of 15 hours if you are not working, studying or training.
For more information, please refer to www.ncs.gov.ie
To apply for the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) online you will need to have a verified MyGovID.
Your verified MyGovID is your single, secure account to unlock Irish Government services online.
The Early Childhood
Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme provides early childhood care and
education for children of pre-school age. Children are eligible for the
ECCE scheme if they are aged over 3 years and not older than 5 and a
The pattern of hours of free pre-school education depends on the hours and days your child attends:
Sessional Service: the normal pattern for the free pre-school year is 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, over the school year (38 weeks). If your child attends for more than 3 hours, you will be charged for the extra time.
Daycare services: If your child attends full-time or part-time, the normal pattern for the free pre-school year is 3 hours per day over the school year (38 weeks). If your child attends for longer than this each day, you will be charged for the extra time. You will also be charged for the extra number of weeks attended (maximum of 52 weeks).