As you may be aware, Minister Katherine Zappone announced a number of changes for early years care and education in Budget 2018.
One of these changes was a 7% increase in the ECCE standard and higher capitation rates which comes into effect from this September 2018. This increase is targeted at increasing the quality of care and education provided through ECCE and, in particular, supporting the recruitment and retention of highly qualified staff. Capitation rates are intended to contribute to the enhancement of the ECCE provision and are not a mechanism to offset fees paid by parents for the time their child may spend in childcare unrelated to ECCE provision (i.e. time over and above the 3 hour free pre-school provision).
The ECCE fees list will be restructured to reflect this from September 2018. This restructure will provide clarity that both the ECCE funding and the increase is intended to support the service in providing high quality care and education, and is not a childcare subvention payment. The main change to the fees list will be how the fees are displayed and calculated. The standard capitation amount will no longer be subtracted from your “normal fee (before capitation)”.
The two current headings in the fees list will be replaced with two new headings; Fee including ECCE (3 free hours) and Fee excluding ECCE. The first column is for ECCE children only and the second column is for non-ECCE children.
Early years providers will now input two separate fees in the following way:
If a parent of an ECCE child is availing of hours over and above the ECCE hours, the service provider must state the fee for those (additional) hours in the Fee including ECCE (3 free hours) column, ensuring that the ECCE hours are provided free of charge to the parent. The Fee excluding ECCEcolumnshould state the fees that would be payable by a parent of a child for the same hours for a non-ECCE child. The fees list should clearly show that the ECCE hours are being provided free of charge.
Services must provide ECCE free of charge to parents of ECCE children in return for the capitation. Services should only charge parents of ECCE children for any hours of childcare availed of over and above the ECCE hours. While it is up to services to set their own fees for hours outside of the free ECCE programme, as per previous years a deduction of €64.50 (pro rata) should be made from the fee charged to parents. This applies regardless of the capitation received i.e. Higher Capitation €80.25 or Standard Capitation €69.
These changes need to be clearly articulated on the fees list and will be subject to approval.
Further details on how to input your fees on the new fees list will be available in the ECCE How to Guide. We advise you to consult the How to Guide before completing the fees list for ECCE this programme year.
Please note that fees will be monitored for the programme year 2018/19 to ensure that the ECCE programme is provided free of charge to eligible children as per the ECCE Grant Funding Agreement terms and conditions.