National Childcare Funding Programmes

Universal Free Pre-School in Early Childhood Care and Education - (ECCE) Scheme

Free Pre-School
From September 2016, every child in Ireland will be able to start pre-school at age three, and to remain in pre-school until they start primary school Currently, children between the age of 3 years and 2 months, and 4 years and 7 months, are eligible for a year’s free pre-school (38 weeks) through the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme.. Children will be able to enrol in pre-school at three different points in the year – September, January and April. In line with this expansion of free pre-school, capitation payments to providers will be fully restored to pre-2012 levels.

Please see the ECCE Calculator of our website to use the ECCE scheme eligibility calculator for your child.

Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) Programme

The Community Childcare Subvention Programme (CCS) is a support programme for community-based and some private childcare services (CCSP)  to provide quality childcare services at a reduced rate to parents. It is a programme which enables services to give parents in receipt of certain social welfare payments (the majority of which are covered under the CCS/CCSP Programme),Family Income Supplement, and holders of medical cards and GP visit cards,a reduction in their childcare fees.

Training and Employment Childcare Training (TEC) Scheme

What is TEC?
The TEC Programmes consists of:

The Childcare Education and Training Support Programme(CETS)
The After-school Childcare Programme (ASCC)
The Community Employment Childcare Programme (CEC)

The purpose of the programme is to support parents on eligible training courses and eligible categories of parents returning to work, by providing subsidised childcare places. CETS is administered on behalf of the Department of Education. Places can be full-time, part-time, after-school only or after-school with pick up places.ETB/Solas have sole responsibility for deciding who is eligible to avail of the CETS Programme.


Please click here to view the Easy Guide for Parents on the National Childcare Funding Programmes 2015/2016.  Please note that the information on the Free preschool year in this guide does not apply for 2016/2017 following the changes announced in the 2016 budget - see section below on Free Preschool. There are also a number of private services (CCSP) in the Community Childcare Subvention programme. Contact our office for this information.