After-School Child Care Scheme

Introduction

The After-School Child Care Scheme (ASCC) supports low-income people to return to work. The scheme provides subsidised after-school childcare places to people with children of primary school age who find employment, increase their employment or take up a place on an employment support scheme.

The ASCC programme closed to new applicants on 14 February 2020.

A new single National Childcare Scheme (NCS) has been developed to replace a number of childcare programmes including ASCC.

More information on the launch of the scheme is available on ncs.gov.ie.

COVID-19 and ASCC

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.

Rules

The subsidised after-school childcare places are provided by local childcare providers (both community and commercial). You pay your contribution directly to the childcare provider.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has published an information on the scheme.

You may have qualified for the scheme if you:

To avail of the scheme you must either:

People who are not eligible

If you are on a Community Employment (CE) scheme you are not eligible for the ASCC as the CE Childcare Programme caters for people on CE schemes with children up to 13 years of age. Self-employed people who are getting Jobseeker’s Allowance and people who are signing for credits only are not eligible for the scheme.

Childcare places

If you are allocated an after-school child care place(s), you are entitled to a total of 52 weeks of after-school child care (regardless of the number of children you have) provided your circumstances do not change.

If you use the service part-time in a week, this is counts as a full week. In other words, you are entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks on the scheme, even if you only use the scheme part-time.

Provided that your circumstances do not change, your entitlement will last for 52 weeks from the date that you first take up an after-school child care place. Your childcare provider will notify you when the end of your eligibility period is approaching (see ‘Other options’ below for other childcare schemes you may be able to avail of).

If you lose your job you will no longer be eligible for the scheme. However, if you get your job back or find a new job, you may be entitled to use any weeks remaining from your 52-week provision if you are still eligible.

You can apply for subsidised after-school child care up to 26 weeks after you start your new job, take up additional employment or start your employment support scheme.

Changes to your situation

If you are offered subsidised after-school child care, you must immediately notify your local Intreo centre or social welfare office of any change in your circumstances that may affect your entitlement. For example, you may no longer be entitled to the scheme if:

  • You lose your job
  • You reduce your hours of employment
  • You leave your employment programme
  • Your child is no longer of primary school age

Rates

If you meet the criteria and are offered a place on the scheme, you can get after-school child care at a subsidised daily rate of €3 per day per child (€15 per week), which you pay directly to the childcare provider.

The scheme also offers a pick-up service at no additional cost.

The amount you pay will not vary during school holidays. If you need full-time child care during holidays, the additional cost will be funded by the scheme for up to 10 weeks. However you cannot use the childcare scheme only for holiday periods, you must use the scheme during the school year to be eligible for school holiday child care.

How to apply

The ASCC programme closed to new applicants on 14 February 2020.

You can apply for support under the National Childcare Scheme. Applications should be made online at ncs.gov.ie.To apply online you will need:

  • a verified MyGovID account
  • Your children’s information such as date of birth and PPSN
  • Your employment and income related details
  • Your partner’s PPSN
  • 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.

Where to apply

Contact your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.

Visit ncs.gov.ie 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 NCS@dcya.gov.ie.

Page edited: 8 April 2020