Community Employment Childcare Programme


The Community Employment Childcare (CEC) Programme provides childcare places for Community Employment (CE) applicants who need childcare so that they can take up a place on a CE scheme. Both existing CE participants and new entrants can apply for the CEC Programme.

A new single National Childcare Scheme (NCS) has been developed to replace a number of childcare programmes including CEC. The CEC programme will be closed to new applicants once the National Childcare Scheme opens in October 2019.

More information on the launch of the scheme is available on

COVID-19 and CEC

From 6pm on 12 March 2020, all childcare facilities in Ireland closed due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

There are special financial supports for childcare providers during the pandemic period. If your childcare provider takes up these financial supports, you will keep your childcare place and you do not have to pay childcare fees while childcare facilities are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can find more information about childcare and COVID-19.


The number of places available under the CEC Programme is limited. Places are allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

You may have qualified for a childcare place while on CE if:

  • You have been offered a place on a CE scheme
  • You are the main carer of a child or children
  • You need assistance with child care in order to take up a place on a CE scheme
  • Your child is under 5 years of age on the childcare start date for CEC pre-school
  • Your child is under 13 years of age on the childcare start date for CEC after-school

Places are provided for 50 weeks in a 12-month period. If you are absent from CE for a prolonged period you will not be able to avail of child care through the CEC Programme.

Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme

If your child is participating in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme at the same time as you are on CE (either morning or afternoon), that child cannot transfer to a childcare place on the CEC Programme. However, if a you are attending CE on an alternative time of day to the child's ECCE programme you can also avail of a childcare place on the CEC Programme while you are on CE.


The maximum amount per child that childcare providers may charge to parents per week is:

  • Part time: €15 per week
  • Afterschool: €15 per week

How to apply

The CE sponsor will tell you about the CEC Programme and give you a list of childcare providers participating in the programme. You should then contact a childcare provider in your area to book a childcare place under the CEC Programme . You can use your letter of offer of a CE place to do this.

If you are already on CE, your sponsor will give you a letter stating this. The childcare provider will accept your letter and offer you a place, if there are places available.

You can also contact your local City or County Childcare Committee who can help you find services in your area.

The CEC programme was closed to new applicants after the National Childcare Scheme opened in October 2019.

From October 2019, you can apply for support under the National Childcare Scheme. Applications should be made online at To apply online you will need:

  • A verified MyGovID account
  • Your children’s information such as date of birth and PPS number
  • Your employment and income related details
  • Your partner’s PPS number
  • Your partner’s employment and income related details

More information on getting and using a verified MyGovID is available on the MyGovID website.

A paper-based application became available on 13 March 2020. You can apply by post by contacting the Parent Support Centre – see ‘Where to apply’ below. These applications will take longer to process and may affect the start date from which your subsidy can be paid.

You can find more information on and in our NCS document.

Where to apply

Visit for more information on the National Childcare Scheme or contact the National Childcare Scheme Parent Support Centre. Call +353 1 906 8530 (9am - 5pm Monday to Friday) or email

Page edited: 8 April 2020