Pictured during a recent visit to Cairdeas Childcare Facility in Kinnegad. From left: Olive Leavy, Marie Callaghan, Minister Peter Burke, Dermot Leavy and Liz O'Rourke.

Funding increased for childcare providers

The news that state funding to childcare providers is to increase by 15 per cent has been welcomed by Minister Peter Burke.

Now in its third year, the Core Funding Scheme's allocation for the year running from September 2024 to August 2025 is €331m, a €44m (15%) increase on the previous 12 months.

Introduced to assist early learning and childcare providers cope with rising operating costs, Minister Burke says that this year's increase shows that the government has been listening to the concerns of childcare providers about the “challenges” faced by many.

“The Core Funding model is now entering its third year and although there are significant challenges in the sector, I am delighted that these concerns have been taken on board by the Minister and that investment is increasing with a 15% increase on last year.

“I fully appreciate the cost of childcare on families and the supports that are in place to help with costs are so important for family budgets all around our communities. I accept there are challenges with staffing and administration and I have raised these with the minister, but there is progress being made and concerns have been addressed in the Stage 3 of Core Funding Model by the Department of Children.

“I recently met with staff and Board members of Cairdeas, Kinnegad and heard first-hand the experiences of operating the Core Funding model. I will continue to raise concerns of operators and highlight the operating issues that do exist.

“Funding increases include an increased flat rate top up for sessional-only services to €5,000, up from €4,075. The minimum a centre-based service will receive will increase from €8,150 to €14,000.

“There will be an increase to the base rate allocation per place for all age groups and larger increases for the under three year olds also,” commented Minister Burke.