For Oral Answer on : 07/07/2022
Question Number(s): 94 Question Reference(s): 35384/22
Department: Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth if he has avenues of support in place to assist owners of créches and pre-schools who are facing serious financial challenges in spite of the new core funding model; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The new Core Funding Scheme announced in Budget 2022 amounts to €221 million in full year costs, €173 million of which is new investment.
This quantum of funding, in addition to the design of the allocation methodology, will substantially contribute to services’ sustainability.
Core Funding will significantly increase income for the overwhelming majority of services and provide greater funding stability.
In addition, a number of measures have been put in place to ensure that all services are sufficiently supported in the transition to this new funding model.
A funding guarantee has been issued to a small number of services who may otherwise see a small reduction in income with the new funding model. This is estimated to affect approximately 40 services, less than 1% of the sector. It is important to note that these services are those that have previously had the highest level of funding relative to staffing requirements and this will be maintained in the new funding model.
There is no evidence to suggest that services will face viability issues as a result of the Core Funding. However there are other issues which can affect services’ sustainability. For providers who experience financial difficulties, a Sustainability Fund is being designed to provide an extra safety net.
The Sustainability Fund will be available to community not-for-profit and private for-profit services that are signed up to Core Funding. Based on experience of having run previous strands of the Sustainability Fund, it will focus on operational as well as financial supports to assist services to manage their difficulties and transition to sustainability and can include specialised advice and support appropriate to individual circumstances.
This new strand will operate from the autumn and can be accessed via local City and County Childcare Committees.