AIM Information for Providers

Universal Supports under AIM

A range of universal supports are provided under levels 1 – 3.

A new Inclusion Charter has been developed for the early years sector. The purpose of the Charter is to demonstrate the sector’s commitment to inclusion.  Service providers are invited to sign-up to this Charter by producing and publishing their own Inclusion Policy.  To support this process, updated Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Guidelines for Early Childhood Care and Education have been produced and a national training programme on the Inclusion Charter and the Guidelines will be delivered by the City and County Childcare Committees. 

A new higher education programme, “Leadership for Inclusion in Early Years” or LINC, will commence in September 2016.  The Department of Children and Youth Affairs will fund up to 900 places per annum on this programme.  Graduates from the programme will be able to take on a new leadership role of Inclusion Co-ordinator within their pre-school setting which will attract an increase of €2 per child per week in the rate of ECCE capitation payable to that setting.

More information on both the LINC programme and the Inclusion Co-ordinator role can be found in the FAQ section of this website. For detailed information or to apply for the LINC programme, please visit www.lincprogramme.ie

Finally, a broad multi-annual programme of formal and informal training for pre-school staff in relation to disability and inclusion will be funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and will be delivered by the City and County Childcare Committee’s, in collaboration with the HSE and other agencies.

The vision is that, as a result of the above initiatives, an inclusive culture will be fostered across the early years sector with benefits for all children and their families.

Targeted Supports under AIM

Where necessary, a range of targeted supports is available under levels 4 – 7 of the Access and Inclusion Model.

Level 4: Expert Educational Advice and Support

Under level 4, service providers can access a national service where specialists in early years care and education for children with disabilities can provide expert advice, mentoring and support. To avail of this support, service providers, in partnership with parents, will be asked to complete an online Access and Inclusion Profile.  This will look at the strengths, abilities and needs of the child, as well as the strengths and needs of the pre-school setting.  The profile will allow the Early Years Specialist to identify what, if any, additional supports might be required to enable the child’s full participation in pre-school.  A copy of the Access and Inclusion Profile can be accessed on the AIM website http://www.preschoolaccess.ie/

The degree of support offered by Early Years Specialists will depend on the needs of the child and the service provider. In some cases, this may involve visiting the service and developing an individual Access and Inclusion Plan for the child within their pre-school setting, in conjunction with the parent and the provider.  It may also involve liaising with HSE health and social care professionals to obtain their input and expertise.  

You can contact the Early Years Specialist Service (Access and Inclusion) by phone (01-511 7222), by e-mail (onlinesupport@pobal.ie) or by completing the online Access and Inclusion Profile on PIP.

Level 5: Equipment, Appliances and Minor Alterations

Under level 5, a national scheme is available to provide specialised equipment, appliances or capital grants towards minor building alterations, where these are necessary to support access and facilitate a child’s participation in pre-school. Applications for this scheme should be made by a service provider, in partnership with a parent.  In all cases, a short report from a “designated professional” is required confirming that the specialised equipment or minor building alterations are necessary.   In the case of applications for minor alterations, quotes will also be required in line with Pobal procurement guidance.

Once an application for equipment is approved, this will be sourced by Pobal and delivered directly to the child’s pre-school setting. Training in the use of the equipment will also be provided.  Where an application for minor building alterations is approved, a capital grant towards the cost of these alterations will be made available to the service provider.

Further information on application requirements, on the different categories of “designated professional” who can complete reports and on the lists of minor alterations and equipment which may be funded under the scheme can be found in the AIM policy document and in the Pobal application and guidance documents, all of which can be accessed at the following link http://www.preschoolaccess.ie/key-documents-and-resources/

Level 6: Therapy Services

Therapy services which are considered critical for a child’s participation in the Early Childhood Care and Education programme will be made available. Arrangements are in place with the Health Service Executive (HSE) to deliver this service and a number of additional therapy posts have been funded under the Access and Inclusion Model to support this service provision.

To avail of level 6 support, service providers, in partnership with parents, should complete the online Access and Inclusion Profile. The Early Years Specialist Service (Access and Inclusion) will review the profile and, where therapeutic input is likely to be required, they will initiate contact with the HSE.  It should be noted that this support is limited to therapeutic interventions which are critical to a child’s participation in the ECCE programme.   

Level 7: Additional Capitation

Where the above supports are not sufficient to meet the needs of the child, service providers, in partnership with parents, can apply for additional capitation to fund extra support in the classroom or to enable the reduction of the staff to child ratio.

Applications for level 7 additional capitation should be made by the service provider, in partnership with the parent, by completing the Access and Inclusion Profile and, within that profile, the level 7 service request. Following this, an Early Years Specialist (Access and Inclusion) will be in contact with the service provider to progress the application.  Two different rates of level 7 capitation are payable as follows:

  • A rate of €130 per week where needs are identified as complex, such that a setting would need to supplement their staffing by approximately 10 additional staff hours per week.
  • A rate of €195 per week where needs are identified as highly complex, such that a setting would need to supplement their staffing by approximately 15 hours per week.

 

Where an application for a level 7 support is approved, Pobal will notify the service provider and the parent of the approval and of the basis on which the capitation is being approved, i.e. the type of support which should be provided on foot of the additional capitation, supervision arrangements etc, taking into account any views expressed by the parent and the provider. A level 7 capitation can also be approved on a pro rata basis where there is a clear justification for doing so (eg. the child cannot attend the service on a full-time basis or other supports are available on a part-time basis).