Budget 2019 – Minister Zappone announces a €127m package
€89m increase for childcare ….
• Introduction of new Affordable Childcare Scheme
• Maximum Net Income Threshold increased by 26% from €47,500 to €60,000 per annum
• Changes will benefit thousands of families; will bring an additional 7,500 children into the scheme, with improved subsidies for over 40,000 others
€33m increase in Tusla funding
• Implementation of HIQA recommendations
• Extra funding for Family Resource Centres and Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Services
• Financial base secured with 4% increase over 2018
Wednesday 10th October 2018
Katherine Zappone TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has announced extra funding of €127m for child care and youth services, bringing the total investment by her Department to €1.5 billion for 2019. The Minister said:
“I am very pleased that we have again delivered as promised on the commitment to continue investing in our children and young people. Today’s €127m package represents another significant step in ensuring access to high quality, affordable childcare and ensuring that Tusla is in a position to continue on its programme of service reform and targeted development of key services.
Budget 2019 represents another significant step in ensuring access to high quality, affordable childcare and education with annual investment now rising to €574m.
The additional €89m in 2019 will allow for thousands of families to benefit due to increased income thresholds under the Affordable Childcare Scheme. The significant increase in the maximum net income threshold from €47,000 to €60,000 per annum means that an estimated 7,500 more children will benefit from the scheme relative to the original proposals. Over 40,000 other children, already eligible, will see increases to their subsidies. The new measures ensure that families with, in some cases, a gross income of up to €100,000 will benefit from the scheme.”
The Minister continued,
“I am delighted we are able to increase income thresholds to bring more children and families into the scheme, I am also very pleased that I have managed to adjust the lower income band, meaning that maximum subsidy rates will now be paid to all families with a net annual income of up to €26,000 . This ‘poverty proofs’ the scheme by ensuring that families at or below the relative income poverty line will benefit from the very highest subsidy rates under the scheme.
Another significant element of the increased childcare provision in Budget 2019 is an additional €10m for the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM). AIM is a suite of resources that enables children with disabilities to access and fully participate in the ECCE scheme.”
The Minister also commented that she was delighted to be in a position to allocate €0.5m to create a team of Childminding Support Officers to support the registration of childminders with Tusla and to help them upskill to required regulatory standards to be introduced in the coming years. Only childminders registered with Tusla will be able to offer the ACS.
“The childcare providers who play an integral role in the delivery of all of the DCYA childcare schemes will continue to receive a Programme Support Payment in 2019. The amount for the PSP has increased from €18m to €19.4m, an increase of nearly 8%. The allocation for capital grant supports has also been increased by nearly a third from €6.8m to €8.8m with a focus on increasing the number of places available and supporting the transition of services to the new Affordable Childcare Scheme.”
Tusla will receive an increase of €33m in 2019 bringing its total allocation to €786m – an increase of 4% over 2018. The extra funding will be used to progress a number of key priorities including the implementation of recommendations made by HIQA on the management of child sexual abuse allegations and supporting Tusla to deliver on the Government’s commitments relating to unaccompanied minor refugees under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.
The Minister said,
I strongly support Tusla’s important work and have secured an additional €110m for the agency since becoming Minister in 2016. The additional resources provided are necessary in order to deliver on a significant programme of service reform and have also allowed for targeted development of key services.
In this context the Minister acknowledged the work done by Tusla in 2018 in supporting and developing Family Resource Centres and is pleased to be in a position to provide for further investment and development. In addition, the increase in Tusla funding in 2019 will allow for further investment in Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence services.
“In addition to the increases for childcare and Tusla, the Minister commented on a number of other important developments she wishes to progress in 2019. The increased funding for her Department will allow for the establishment of the Guardian ad Litem executive office in the Department to put in place a nationally organised and managed GAL service. It will also assist the Adoption Authority of Ireland meet increased costs they will experience in meeting responsibilities under the forthcoming Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill.”
For more information see below:
‘Commitment to children comes through in Budget 2019
Reacting to today’s Budget, the Children’s Rights Alliance recognises the clear commitment made to put children and families first. With these measures, there is a focus on the Government’s commitment to lift 100,000 children out of consistent poverty. We are a step closer to meeting this target with this Budget.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “Children and families on the breadline stand to gain in this Budget. The UK is sleepwalking into a hard-Brexit and children have the most to lose if we suffer an economic shock. The targeted measures announced today will mean that fewer children go to bed hungry or cold.
“In particular, we welcome the acknowledgement by Government that families with older children are struggling to make ends meet. Older children are more likely to experience poverty because it costs more to feed and clothe them. Families in receipt of social welfare will receive an extra €5.20 a week (Qualified Child Increase – QCI) for children over 12. It is a small change but one that will have a big impact on these families.
“We also acknowledge the increase in the QCI for children under 12, bringing the payment to €34 a week. The additional €25 in the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance equates to a pair of shoes for a child and will benefit over 150,000 families with some 275,000 children.”
Another measure welcomed by the organisation is the increase to income thresholds for the Affordable Childcare Scheme by the end of 2019. Commenting on these measures, Tanya Ward said: “Families are crippled with the cost of childcare. The increase to income thresholds for the Affordable Childcare Scheme will mean that four out of five eligible families with children will benefit financially from the scheme. It also means that more families on the lowest incomes will benefit significantly as the threshold is increased from €22,000 net income per year to €26,000 net. The Government must now ensure that it can meet the extra demand and invest in quality early years centres and supports for childminders so no child is turned away next September.”
Commenting further, Ms. Ward said: “Children in lone parent families have the highest levels of poverty. This Budget aims to support their parents by increasing the weekly income disregard by €20, making it easier for them to continue to work while receiving the same level of social welfare support. This could mean the difference between being able to afford a trip to the cinema or go to a friend’s birthday party – or not.
“We welcome an increase in the Direct Provision Allowance for children to €29.80 which implements the McMahon Report recommendation. Children in Direct Provision have told us about the shame of living in poverty; about never getting to go on a school trip or join their local hurling club. We cannot allow asylum seeking children fall further behind their peers in terms of child poverty so we hope to see the rate increase further down the line.
“We look forward to further detailed announcements by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs tomorrow to see how exactly these investments impact on the children and youth affairs sector as a whole.”
The Children’s Rights Alliance is currently analysing the impact of this Budget on children and families and will issue a detailed analysis tomorrow.’
‘Increase in income thresholds for childcare scheme
The income thresholds for the Affordable Childcare Scheme will increase next year.
Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe said the base income threshold is being raised from €22,700 to €26,000.
The maximum income threshold will go from €47,500 to €60,000, and the multiple child deduction will increase from €3,800 to €4,300.
Delivering his speech for Budget 2019, Minister Donohoe said the scheme makes a real difference to the lives of thousands of families not only in terms of accessing childcare but also in terms of encouraging people back into the workplace.
Minister Donohoe also announced an additional €127m for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in 2019.
“This funding will facilitate our children and young people in reaching their full potential,” he said.
Funding for Tusla will increase by over €30m to just over €786m, while funding for early learning and childcare will increase by just under €90m to €574m.
The National Women’s Council of Ireland welcomed the increase in funding for the Affordable Childcare Scheme. “The lack of affordable, quality, accessible childcare and after school care is one of the biggest barriers to women’s employment and participation in public life,” the NCWI said in a statement.
“In particular, we welcome the increase in the lower threshold bands that will support lower income families, including lone parent families. It’s disappointing that there was no reference to the need to improve pay for childcare workers, the majority of whom are women,” it said.’