513. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the operation of the free ECCE scheme disadvantages children born in the month of January each year from 2015 onwards in view of the fact they will only receive one year free early child care (details supplied); her views on whether this is fair on these children and their parents; her plans to resolve this problem; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11175/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I propose to take Questions Nos. 508 and 513 together.
From September 2018, all children meeting the minimum age requirement of 2 years and 8 months will be eligible for a full two programme years on the Early Childhood Care and Education programme (ECCE). However, parents will have the discretion to decide how much of ECCE to avail of for their child. A decision may be made to utilise one year only of the programme for various ...

30. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that childcare costs continue to pose a serious financial challenge for families; the measures she will introduce to address same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8986/18 asked on 22 Feb 2018 - Child Care Costs)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): The factors impacting on the costs across delivery of services in any sector are complex and multifaceted. The cost to childcare providers is affected by many factors such as rates, rent, labour costs, and insurance amongst other things.
In September 2017 this Government introduced a number of measures to make childcare more affordable for families in Ireland. 
These measures involved:
- A new, universal (non-means tested) sub...

31. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the introduction of the universal child care subsidy and its impact on the sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8985/18 asked on 22 Feb 2018 - Child Care Costs)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): In September 2017 my Department introduced a series of measures to make childcare more accessible and affordable for families in Ireland. These included:
- A new, universal (non-means tested) subsidy for all children in Tusla-registered childcare aged between 6 months until they are eligible for the ECCE programme, which amounts to up to €1,040 per year for children in full-time childcare. 
- Significant increases, of up to 50...

581. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that large numbers of child care providers are continuing to increase fees following the introduction of the universal child care subsidy resulting in a loss of benefit to parents; the steps she is taking to address this; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50291/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Child Care Costs)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): As the Deputies will be aware, the factors impacting on the costs across delivery of services in any sector are complex and multifaceted. The cost to childcare providers is affected by many factors such as rates, rent, labour costs, and insurance amongst other things.
The cost to parents to access that childcare is decided by childcare providers taking account of these overheads.
Notwithstanding this, I am committed to ensuring...

496. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that some child care providers are only offering sessional rates for parents in excess of the three hours covered by the new ECCE scheme resulting in higher rates for parents; her plans to provide a solution to this issue in order that parents can afford to cover childcare costs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43485/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Early Childhood Care and Education)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): The ECCE programme is a three hour educational programme funded by my Department. Any fees for childcare hours over and above the ECCE hours is at the discretion of the service provider. Registered providers may offer an additional 30 minutes per day but this must be offered on a optional basis to parents and uptake of the additional time must not be a condition of initial or continued enrolment in the ECCE programme. A regist...

553. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number and percentage of child-care providers nationally who have signed up for the affordable childcare scheme; the number and percentage that have not yet signed up; the reason some providers have not yet signed up; the efforts under way to achieve 100% compliance (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41814/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Affordable Childcare Scheme Implementation)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Currently 3,155 of 3,705 of applicable childcare services (85%) have signed up to deliver the affordable childcare scheme. Further applications to sign up to deliver DCYA programmes are being received every day.
I am aware that some providers have expressed concerns around the administration of the new measures. In recent months, I have announced payments towards ‘non-contact hours’ for all childcare providers who register for...

1650. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention her been drawn to the fact that some child care providers have increased costs proportionate to the amount provided in the affordable childcare scheme which neutralises the benefit for families; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37559/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Affordable Childcare Scheme)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1643, 1644, 1650, 1651, 1656 and 1664 together.
As the Deputies will be aware, the factors impacting on the costs across delivery of services in any sector are complex and multifaceted. The cost to childcare providers is affected by many factors such as rates, rent, labour costs, and insurance amongst other things.
The cost to parents to access that childcare is decided by childcare providers ta...

1651. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that families are struggling to meet the new charges imposed by some child care providers following the introduction of the affordable childcare scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37560/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Affordable Childcare Scheme)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1643, 1644, 1650, 1651, 1656 and 1664 together.
As the Deputies will be aware, the factors impacting on the costs across delivery of services in any sector are complex and multifaceted. The cost to childcare providers is affected by many factors such as rates, rent, labour costs, and insurance amongst other things.
The cost to parents to access that childcare is decided by childcare providers ta...

1652. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that children are missing out on child care in view of the fact that they must be three years of age to avail of a place and child-care providers will not hold places for children that turn three years of age during the school term post September; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37561/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Child Care Services)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): As the Deputy will be aware, the Early Childhood and Education (ECCE) Programme was expanded from September 2016 so that children may start free pre-school from age 3, and can continue in free pre-school once the child is not older than 5 years and 6 months at the end of the relevant pre-school year. 
Three different points in the year - September, January and April – are in place to maximise access for these children within the...

256. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if all agencies under her aegis have an up to date tax clearance certificate; the agencies which do not have an up to date tax clearance certificate; the reason they do not have a tax clearance certificate in each case, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30281/17 asked on 28 Jun 2017 - Departmental Agencies Data)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I am advised that the State Agencies under the remit of my Department have up to date tax clearance certificates.
 ...

216. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the details of any payments made by her Department, its agencies or any bodies under her aegis to any broadcasters here in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016; the broadcaster to which the funds were provided; the reason for the payments; and if there are any reasons for payments to broadcasters in 2017. (Question 14718/17 asked on 23 Mar 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I assume that the Deputy is referring to payments to organisations, networks or stations involved in the broadcast of radio and television programmes. In this regard the Deputy might note that my Department, the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Túsla, the Child and Family Agency did not incur any such payments and that the Office of the Ombudsman for Children will respond directly to him in the matter.
Particulars relating to p...

289. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by her Department, any agency within the remit of her Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of departmental funding; if her Department has any guidelines in relation to such investment; if her Department intend to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39026/16 asked on 07 Dec 2016 - State Investments)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Neither my Department, or any of the agencies under its remit, hold investments in tobacco companies either directly or indirectly. While there are no specific guidelines in relation to investments of this nature I would emphasise that my Department and its agencies would not, as a matter of course, make such investments.
 ...

950. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the safeguards the State has put in place to ensure there is fair and equitable admissions to preschools for applicants; if there is any legal certainty for parents who have been awarded a place and then told they cannot get a place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26561/16 asked on 27 Sep 2016 - Early Childhood Care and Education)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): The Early childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme is administrative in nature, and as such, ECCE enrolments are not offered on the basis of legislative or statutory provisions. However, any scheme funded by Government must have a strong governance regime in place to ensure taxpayers’ money is spent appropriately. From the inception of ECCE, services that have chosen to provide it have been required to sign a contract kno...

879. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the figures for her Department on the percentage of working days lost to sickness absence through certified leave and uncertified leave in each year from 2011 to 2015, inclusive. (Question 23407/16 asked on 21 Jul 2016 - Departmental Staff Sick Leave)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): As my Department was established on 2nd June 2011, the information requested by the Deputy is provided from June 2011 onwards.
 Lost Time Rate 2011 (June - December) 2012 2013 2014 2015 5.48%       3.49% 3.52% 5.75% 4.2% 

As a small organisation, this Department is more susceptible to fluctuations or high percentages as a result of long term absences and this was particularly the case for the high percentag...

903. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of miles claimed for and the amount of travel expenses paid to her and each Minister of State in her Department in respect of their functions as Ministers in her Department between 1 January 2016 and 10 March 2016; between 11 March 2016 and 6 May 2016; and since 7 May 2016. (Question 24292/16 asked on 21 Jul 2016 - Ministerial Expenditure)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Details of the mileage and other travel expenses claimed by me in the performance of my official duties since 6th May 2016 to date are as follows:
- the sum of €446.74 was obtained in mileage costs towards the use of my private motor vehicle. The total distance claimable was 756 km;
- the sum of €424.37 was claimed in respect of the provision of Business Class 11 insurance cover in respect of the use of my private car for offic...

904. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to provide the name and position of, and annual salary awarded to, her special advisers; to provide details for requests, if any, for an increase above the special advisers’ pay cap as set by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24309/16 asked on 21 Jul 2016 - Ministerial Advisers Data)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Both of my Special Adviser appointments have been made in accordance with Instructions for Ministerial Appointments as published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in June 2016.
 Name Position Held Current Salary Patricia Ryan Special Adviser €79,401 Jerry O’Connor Special Adviser (Media) €79,401 
 ...