Tuesday, 9 June 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
130. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children when payment for the free pre-school year will be granted to service providers; in particular, if someone commences their pre-school year in September 2009 and if the funding is introduced in January 2010, will they be able to claim the free pre-school payment for the remainder of the year from January 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22127/09]
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Barry Andrews): As the Deputy will be aware I have responsibility for the implementation of the new scheme to provide a free Pre-School year of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) which will commence in January 2010. The scheme will allow children to avail of a free playschool place in their pre-school year, which will be provided for three hours per day, five days per week for 38 weeks. It will also allow children in their pre-school year who are attending a full or part-time day-care service to avail of a free session of two hours and 15 minutes per day, five days per week for 50 weeks. Participating children must, normally be aged between three years three months and four years six months on 1 September of each year.
An annual capitation fee of over €2,400 will be paid to participating services. This equates to €64.50 per week where children attend for 38 weeks, and €48.50 where they attend for 50 weeks of the year. Participating services will receive the capitation payment at the beginning of each term. Participating services will receive the capitation fee for all qualifying children enrolled in the service in January 2010, regardless of whether or not the children were enrolled at an earlier date. As the first full year of the scheme will commence in September 2010, children availing of the scheme in January 2010 will have a reduced period of free pre-school provision.
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