The National Childcare Scheme

The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) is a landmark new scheme for Ireland. NCS opened for online applications on Wednesday 20 November 2019. It established an equitable and progressive system of universal and income assessed subsidies for children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years who are attending any participating Tusla registered childcare service, including any Tusla registered childminder.

It provides a user-friendly online application process for parents/guardians to access these subsidies. Parents apply directly to the Scheme for financial support, meaning providers will no longer need to manage parental paperwork in order to apply for subsidies.

If you are an early years service provider looking for more information on the National Childcare Scheme, click here or call us on 053 9237516.

NCS Sponsor Referrals

These are special arrangements whereby designated bodies can refer a child to the Scheme where childcare is needed on child welfare, child protection, family support or other specified grounds. For more information on the Sponsor process click here to access the NCS Policy Guidelines. Information on the NCS Sponsor Referral process is included in this document.  Alternatively, the NCS Sponsors Team can be contact by phone at 01 906 8535 from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday or by email at


The ECCE programme is a universal two-year pre-school programme available to all children within the eligible age range. The programme is provided for three hours per day, five days per week over 38 weeks per year and the programme year runs from September to June each year. The programme will be available to all children who have turned 2 years and 8 months of age before September 1st as long as they won’t turn 5 years and 6 months of age on or before June 30th of the programme year (please refer to the ECCE calculator on our home page).

You can access more detailed information about ECCE on the Early Years Hive website.