Dublin West TD and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has said the expansion of the Early Childhood Care and Education Programme will be a huge benefit to working parents in Dublin West.
“Thanks to a major expansion of the free preschool scheme known as the ECCE, thousands of extra children across the country will have access to free preschool places.
“All children reaching three years of age are now entitled to a free preschool place, meaning that 85,000 children are now eligible for the scheme nationwide. Previously children were entitled to one free year. Eligible children will now be able access the expanded ECCE Programme across two years, and in some cases three school years. In previous years, eligible children were only permitted to access the ECCE Programme from the September of that preschool year. Two extra eligibility entry points have been added, in January and April, to facilitate additional access.
“This expansion of the free preschool scheme will be of huge benefit to working parents in Dublin West. It is estimated that for each place on the scheme, a family can save between €2,500 – €4,000 in childcare costs.
“This Government is determined to use the fruits of our recent economic success to assist Dublin West families who struggled through the years of the recession. Childcare is a big issue for many of these families and savings of up to €4,000 will help to ease their financial burden significantly.
“As well as the financial benefits, international studies show that children who take part in schemes such as the ECCE, have better outcomes later in life, particularly those children experiencing disadvantage.”