Minister O’Gorman welcomes first ‘Partner Services’ as
record number of early learning and childcare services
signal intention to expand
Wednesday 17 August
1. ‘Partner Service Funding Agreement’ for the new €221 million Core Funding for early
learning and childcare providers available for signing from today.
2. Early learning and childcare services commit to expansion ahead of Core Funding
introduction, with record increase in applications for a ‘change in circumstance’ to Tusla
3. Number of early learning and childcare service closures notified to Tusla down by 16%
relative to pre-Covid-19.
The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, will today
(17 August 2022) welcome the first ‘Partner Services’ signing up to Core Funding, as new data
revealed a record increase in early learning and childcare providers signalling their intention to
expand their services.
Core Funding, introduced in last year’s Budget, will see €221 million invested by the State into early
learning and childcare.
Services that sign up for Core Funding will become Partner Services, working in partnership with the
State to deliver early learning and childcare for the public good – focused on quality and affordability
for children and their families, sustainability and stability for providers and their staff, and
accountability, transparency and value for money for the State.
The Partner Service Funding Agreement for Core Funding is available for signing from today.
Preliminary data gathered by the Department suggests a strong response from providers to Core
1. A 31% increase in ‘change in circumstances’ applications from Early Learning and Care
services and 261% increase in increase in change in circumstances for School-Age Childcare
services compared to 2021 driven by services seeking to expand their service.
2. A 16% reduction in the number of ELC services closure notifications to Tusla for the same
time period in 2022 compared to 2019.
3. 90% of services have completed the Annual Early Years Sector Profile Survey to date, which is
a pre-requisite for Core Funding.
4. 95% of eligible services have signed up to the Transition Fund, introduced in April 2022 to
bridge the gap between the end of Covid-19 supports for the sector and the start of Core
Funding, a condition of which is a fee freeze.
Core Funding will come into effect and is contingent upon Employment Regulation Orders being in
effect, setting minimum rates of pay for all roles across the sector as defined in the Early Years’ Service
Joint Labour Committee Establishment Order.
Minister O’Gorman said:
“We are on the cusp of transformative change for the early learning and childcare sector. Delivering
high-quality, affordable early learning and childcare is one of my top priorities as Minister. Core
Funding is central to this, and will involve a fundamental shift in the relationship between the State
“My vision is for early learning and childcare to be delivered as a public good to the benefit children,
their families and all of society.
I am delighted to see Partner Services join together with us to realise this vision.
“I want to see as many providers as possible participating in this partnership to deliver early learning
and childcare for the public good, by coming in to contract for Core Funding, and becoming Partner
Services. A partnership requires commitment, openness, and good faith on both sides. I intend to
uphold the partnership by continuing to increase investment and supporting Partner Services in
delivering high quality early learning and childcare. Working together we can achieve great things for
the sector and Core Funding will bring many benefits for children, parents, staff and providers.”
Core Funding constitutes a very different approach to funding the early learning and childcare sector.
Extensive efforts are being made to assist services with the application process. Services requiring
assistance should contact their local City/County Childcare Committee or Pobal via the Early Years
Provider Centre (EYPC).