The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth operate several childcare programmes that provide free or reduced childcare fees to parents.

The National Childcare Scheme

The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) is a landmark new scheme for Ireland.  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.

There is a NCS Parent Call Centre. Parents can call 01 906 8530 for information or any queries they have on the National Childcare Scheme. Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

To access NCS please log onto

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 Early Childhood Care and Education Programme (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. To check the eligibility of your child please see the ECCE eligibility calculator on our homepage.

Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) Support

The objective of AIM support is to help all children, regardless of ability, to access quality early learning and care and create a more inclusive culture in pre-schools. Further information can be found here For Parents – Access and Inclusion Model (

NCS Sponsorship

National Childcare Scheme allows special arrangements where a child can be referred by certain Statutory Organisations for an NCS subsidy where childcare is needed on child welfare, child protection, family support or other specified grounds. Further information can be found here Frequently Asked Questions  · Applicant Portal (


WxCCC are available to offer support, provide guidance and signposting to parents. Contact the office 053 9237156