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PIP Announcement: NSAI Aistear & Play CPD

The National Síolta Aistear Initiative is a collaboration between the Department of Children & Youth Affairs, the Department of Education and Skills, Better Start National Early Years Quality Development and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. The purpose of the initiative is to support the coordinated roll out of Síolta and Aistear, the national quality and curriculum frameworks.


Aistear & Play CPD has been developed by a working group with representation from the National Síolta Aistear Initiative, the Early Years Education Inspectorate, DES, NCCA & Better Start.


NSAI Aistear & Play comprises of 5 individual workshops (2 &1/2 hours each) and two onsite support visits from an Early Years Specialist to support application in practice. This CPD will be delivered by Better Start Quality Early Years Specialists. Please note attendance at all workshops and onsite visits is required to receive certification and CPD payment if eligible. 

This CPD will be eligible for the DCYA CPD funding pilot subject to terms and conditions. The first round of CPD will begin in March 2019. Aistear and Play will be available to a limited number of settings in the following locations: Dublin City, Fingal, Dublin South, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Wicklow, Kildare, Waterford, Carlow/Kilkenny, Tipperary, Longford, Offaly/Laois, Meath/Westmeath, Galway, Mayo/Roscommon, Donegal, Sligo/Leitrim, Clare, Limerick, Kerry, Cork City, Cork County, Cavan, Monaghan & Louth.

We are now inviting early learning and care settings who wish to apply for a place on this programme to submit a completed expression of interest form which can be found along with more information at www. under the NSAI tab.


Click on Better Start Link for Information Leaflet on Aistear and Play, Locations of Workshops and Expression of Interest Form: 

Minister Zappone publishes Addendum to Children First

Online safety risks must be assessed by Organisations working with children and young people
Minister Zappone publishes Addendum to Children First Guidance 


Friday 18th January 2019

Groups, clubs and services working with young people are required by law to assess and manage online risks, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.

Minister Zappone has signed and published an addendum to Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children on on-line safety. 

It makes clear that all organisations and services working with young people must include online risks and safeguards in their legally required Child Safeguarding Statements.

Safeguarding Statements have been a legal requirement since March 2018 after Minister Zappone commenced all sections of Children’s First in December 2017.

Speaking today the Minister said “The internet is a hugely valuable resource that has brought so many positive opportunities for learning, creating and communicating across the whole of society. 

However, with these increased opportunities has come increased risks. There are those online who wish to harm, hurt or abuse our children. We all have a responsibility to offer protection and safety from this danger.

This responsibility extends to relevant services who offer internet access, PCs and wifi.  Organisations who work with our young people need to know how to identify and manage these risks, and know the appropriate response if a child is at risk."

The Minister noted that the Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children was fully revised and published in 2017 to reflect the provisions in the Act and stated “This addendum to the guidance does not alter or increase the obligations on organisations providing services to children under the Act, rather it clarifies that the specific issue of online safety should be considered when carrying out risk assessments and preparing Child Safeguarding Statements.” 

The Minister added that a range of Government Departments and agencies have a role in relation to internet safety saying that, “the cross-Government approach required to tackle online safety issues is recognised in the Government’s Action Plan for Online Safety, which sets out the wide range of actions and activities that are underway across a number of Government Departments to support and promote online safety for children and adults”. 

Note for Editors

The Children First Act 2015, which was fully commenced in December 2017, provides for a number of key child protection measures, including raising awareness of child abuse and neglect, providing for reporting and management of child protection concerns and improving child protection arrangements in organisations providing services to children. 

The Act operates side-by-side with the non-statutory obligations provided for in Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children. The guidance sets out definitions of abuse, and signs for its recognition. It explains how reports about reasonable concerns of child abuse or neglect should be made by the general public and professionals to Tusla. It sets out what organisations need to do to keep children safe. It also describes the obligations under the Children First Act 2015 and who they attach to. These guidelines have been in place since 1999 and were fully revised and published in October 2017 to include reference to the provisions of the Act. 

The Addendum to Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children on Online Safety is available on the Department of Children and Youth Affair’s website at the following link:  Click here

A range of resources to support the implementation of Children First, including guidance on developing a Child Safeguarding Statement is available on the Tusla website


PIP Announcement - Medical Card Information

Medical Card Information
There has been a slight change in the information required where, after reviewing the HSE database, a medical card and/or GP visit card is not valid for CCS/P. Previously we would have accepted a letter only, from the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) outlining medical card/GP visit card details. However, we now accept evidence of a valid medical card or GP visit card by way of letter, email or account print out from the PCRS.
The document submitted must contain the following:
·         Evidence showing document is from the Primary Care Reimbursement Service,
·         The parent and/or child name and PPSN.
·         The card type i.e. medical card or GP visit card.’
·         The card start date and end date.
Please refer to the CCS/P Supporting Documents Guide 2018/19 which is available on the PIP portal for further guidance on this change.

New Registration System brings SAC into ACS

New Registration System Brings School Age Childcare into Affordable Childcare Scheme 



  • School age childcare services to be registered for first time with Tusla 
  • Minister Zappone signs the Childcare Support Act 2018 (Commencement) Order 2018 and the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) (Registration of School Age Services) Regulations 2018, enabling school age childcare services to register and participate in new Affordable Childcare Scheme 
  • The families of over 17,750 school age children benefited from government childcare subsidies last year. Thousands more could benefit in 2019 through the Affordable Childcare Scheme
  • Regulations represent an important first step in the full regulation and inspection of school age childcare services
  • Another major milestone to quality affordable, accessible childcare


Thursday 27th December 2018

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, TD, has today signed Regulations which will provide, for the first time in Ireland, for the registration of school age childcare services.
Minister Zappone has signed the Childcare Support Act (Commencement) Order 2018, bringing into force key amendments to the Child Care Act 1991 in relation to the definition of school-age service. 
This paves the way for Regulations- which the Minister also signed- on the mandatory registration of school-age services, procedures for registration and on-going requirements for continuing registration.

School age childcare services have not, to date, been subject to registration and, so, this is a significant step forward in ensuring quality school age childcare for thousands of working families.
Once registered, school age childcare services will be able to participate in the forthcoming Affordable Childcare Scheme launching in late 2019.
This means families availing of these services will be able to access the financial benefits provided by the scheme.   

On signing the Regulations, Minister Zappone noted: 

“We have been working tirelessly to deliver quality, accessible, affordable early learning and care and school age childcare in Ireland. Paramount to this is the ongoing development and improvement of quality provision for children.  As such, I am delighted to establish a statutory registration system for school age childcare services; services that provide such a vitally important support to working parents throughout the country. 

Parents can be assured that these new Regulations represent an important first step in paving the way for full regulation and inspection of school-age services in the future.  They also ensure that parents will now have access to the Affordable Childcare Scheme when it launches next year. This progressive measure will, therefore, improve both the quality and affordability of school age childcare for Irish families over time.”

Only registered school age childcare services will be able to provide services under the Affordable Childcare Scheme.  The regulations will come into effect on 18th February 2019 and services will be able to register with Tusla from that date.  More detail on registration requirements are set out in the Frequently Asked Questions document which can be accessed at the following link, click here

A comprehensive and ‘plain English’ explanatory guide will also be published alongside the Regulations on the Department’s website.

Once the registration of school age services has been completed, more comprehensive regulations will be introduced in a move that mirrors the enhanced regulation and inspection of early learning and care settings over recent years. 


Early Years and School Age Childcare Capital 2019

Extra spaces and fire-safety priorities for Childcare Investment in 2019
Providers urged to prepare applications for €9m capital fund

“Investment marks start of hugely important year for children, parents and providers as countdown to the Affordable Childcare Scheme continues”


Friday 28th December 2018 

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, TD is pleased to announce the priorities for 2019’s Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital programmes. The Minister has secured €9m for capital grants across 2019.

The budget for the Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital programmes has been set at €6.106m.

A further announcement with details of an additional €3m to be associated with the new Affordable Childcare Scheme will issue early in 2019.

The programmes will be open for applications from early learning and care and school age childcare services in February 2019.
Capital funding under the programmes will be delivered under the following three strands:

Strand A:  Creation of new places for 0-3 year olds - €4.231m (max. €50,000 per grant).
Strand B:  Fire Safety for community early learning and care services – €0.875m, (max. €15,000 per grant).
Strand C:  Creation of new school age places - €1m (max. €20,000 per grant).

The focus of the funding in 2019 is to continue the expansion of early learning and care places for 0-3 year olds and school age childcare places where this is most needed.
Funding is also being made available to aid community/not-for-profit early learning and childcare services in addressing fire safety issues that have been highlighted in inspection reports.

Commenting on the launch of the Capital Fund, Minister Zappone said: - 

“2019 is going to be one of the most significant years in our efforts to transform one of the most expensive childcare services in the world into the best. The final groundwork is now being put in place ahead of the launch of the Affordable Childcare Scheme next October.

Across the year I am delighted to have secured more than €9 million in Capital Funding for early learning and care and school age services. Now I can confirm a first round of investment totalling €6.106m.  We will start this funding process early in the year to give more time for applications and implementation. More children than ever in the history of the state are accessing government funded subsidies for early learning and care and I am mindful of the pressures and opportunities that this can create for the sector. 

In the recent Pobal Annual Sector Profile, almost a quarter of all services indicated their intention to expand in the next 12-months, creating over 15,000 additional spaces for children nationwide. The Government is ready to assist in creating additional capacity at a time of rapid expansion and transformation.

Since 2015 Government investment in childcare is up 117%. Now it is time to take the next big leap as we prepare for the Affordable Childcare Scheme to become a reality which will benefit children, parents and providers for generations to come.”

Further information on the application process, including detailed application guidelines, will be made available to services in January 2019. 

Childcare providers are encouraged to contact their local City/County Childcare Committee to answer any questions they may have.