Parents Scroll Down to find out more about the terms and conditions of the following childcare funding schemes:

1. The ECCE Scheme
2. The Community Childcare Subvention Scheme (CCS Scheme)
3. The Training and Employment Childcare (TEC Scheme) Programme

Easy Guide For Parents Childcare Funding Programmes


Free Pre School Year in ECCE

In January 2010 the Government introduced the Free Pre School Year in Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE) Scheme, providing free pre-school places for all children of eligible age. The objective of the ECCE programme is to make early learning in a formal setting available to eligible children in the year before they commence primary school.  The free pre-school year is delivered on the basis of 3 hours per day, 5 days per week, 38 weeks per year.

Birth Dates for eligibility to ECCE

Born Between Start Year
1st January 2012 31st August 2013 September  2016 To June 2017 
1st January 2012 31st December 2013 January 2017 To June 2017


1st January 2012 31st March 2014  April 2017 To June 2017 



Currently, children who are aged between 3 years 2 months and 4 years 7 months (Born between 2nd February 2011 and 30th June 2012 inclusive) are eligible for 38 weeks’ of free pre-school when they register for the programme.


The change announced in Budget 2016 means that, from September 2016, children will be able to register for free pre-school when they are aged 3, and will be able to remain in pre-school until they make the transition to primary school (provided they are not older 5 years 6 months at the end of the pre-school year i.e. the end of June).


The change to the pre-school programme announced in 2015 budget take effect from September 2016.


Children who are currently enrolled for the free pre-school programme (i.e. on the basis of the eligibility criteria which applied in September this year) will be able to continue in the programme in September 2016 – once they are not older than 5 years and 6 months at the end of the current pre-school year i.e. June 2017)

From September 2016 the minimum enrolment age for free pre-school is age 3.



It is a fundamental principle of the scheme that the pre-school year is available free to parents.  Services may, however, charge parents for additional services provided, including additional hours and additional activities, provided that certain rules are followed in relation to such charges.


Community Childcare Subvention (CSS) Scheme

The CCS Scheme enables Community Childcare Services such as crèches, playschools, pre schools and after school services which operate on a not-for –profit basis and are managed by a committee,  to give parents in receipt of certain social welfare payments (the majority of which are covered under the CSS Scheme), Family Income Supplement, and holders of medical cards and GP visit cards, a reduction in their childcare fees. The fee which a parent will pay will be the cost price of the place as advertised by the service less the relevant subvention amount.

Parents for more details on the CCS Scheme click here

For more details on reduction amounts & eligibility under the CCS Scheme click here

 Training and Employment Childcare  (TEC) Programme

The objective of the TEC Programmes is to support parents on eligible training courses and eligible categories of parents returning to work, by providing subsidised childcare places.

The TEC Programmes are:

Childcare Education and Training Support programme (CETS)

The CETS Programme formerly catered for FAS and VEC training course participants and now provides childcare on behalf of the Local Education and Training Boards.

Click here to download the Parental Declaration form for parents who are eligible under the CETS Programme.

After-School Child Care programme (ASCC)
The ASCC is administered on behalf of the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and provides afterschool care for primary school children for certain categories of working parents and parents on DSP employment programmes (not including Community Employment).

Click here to download the Parental Declaration form for parents who are eligible under the ASCC Programme.

Please note only a parents local Department of Social Protection Office will be able to determine if a parent is eligible for this programme.

Community Employment Childcare programme (CEC)

The CEC is administered on behalf of the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and provides childcare for  children of parents who are participating on Community Employment schemes.


Click here to download the Parental Declaration form for parents who are eligible under the CEC Programme.


For further information on the programmes, please consult TEC Programme Guide


If you require more information in relation to any of the schemes please do not hesitate to contact Jillian or Eithne on 053 – 9237156