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ECCE 2020/21 on the Early Years Hive

Dear Service Provider,Early Years Hive

This year the ECCE Programme will be managed on the Early Years Hive, and all ECCE Programme related activities must be completed here.

All service providers offering the ECCE Programme for the 2020-2021 programme year must complete every step of the on boarding process on the Hive before they can begin the ECCE readiness process. This means that each service provider must have an Early Years Hive account. Quick Guides and videos are available on the Early Years Hive to assist services with this process.

Once the on-boarding process is completed, Service Providers must also complete the ECCE specific readiness steps before a programme application can be submitted. A Quick Guide on completing the ECCE readiness steps is available here for assistance with this process. A separate Quick Guide is available to assist you with completing the ECCE Fees List and Service Calendars on the Early Years Hive.

DCYA ECCE Programme Rules for 2020/21 will be made available shortly.

Early Years Team

DCYA Announcement regarding the launch of a range of online resources and guidance to support service provider​s

Dear Provider,reopening

Today the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has launched a range of online resources and guidance to support service providers, practitioners and parents to prepare for the 
reopening of Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare settings, including childminders. The Guidance for Reopening webpage is available on the First 5 website https://first5.gov.ie/practitioners/reopening.

Some resources are already published, and others will be added in the coming days and weeks. The web-page will be regularly updated, so please check back. Irish-language resources will be available in the coming days.

Acknowledging that sometimes the volume of information available can feel overwhelming and hard to manage, the new webpage aims to make it easy for you to navigate and find the information and guidance you need.

The Department would like to thank the many organisations that have developed and given advice on these resources and guidance. The webpage notes some resources that are still being developed and will be available soon. If there is further guidance you feel you need, please let us know through your representative organisation or local City/County Childcare Committee.

Regards,

Early Years Division.
DCYA.

Programme Support Payments (PSP) 2019/20 - closing date 12th June

Dear Service Provider,PobalLogo

Providers are reminded that Programme Support Payments (PSP) will close for applications next Friday, June 12th.

On Friday, 17th April, the DCYA released an advance payment of one-third of the Programme Support Payment (PSP) that services were scheduled to receive in June 2020. In order to receive the remaining two-thirds and retain the one-third already paid to services, the application form must be completed and submitted by Friday 12 June 2020.

If a service does not wish to apply, then the advance payment must be returned. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make arrangements to return the payment.

A ‘How to Guide’ including screen shots explaining how to apply through the service provider portal is attached here.

LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED

DCYA Announcement on COVID-19 and Programme Readiness 2020/21

DCYA Announcement on COVID-19 and Programme Readiness 2020/21PobalLogo

COVID-19

The DCYA are working towards the significant challenges of a phased reopening of early learning and care facilities for 29th June, in line with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. The lifting of restrictions and the progression to each stage of this roadmap is dependent on the containment of the COVID-19 virus.

Working closely with the DCYA, Pobal are preparing our systems – PIP and the Early Years Hive to support the range of measures in relation to funding that may be introduced in coming weeks.

As a result of COVID 19 restrictions, it does mean that we are currently not in a business as usual model, that being said we do invite you to make preliminary preparations for Programme Readiness 2020/2021.

The DCYA and Pobal look forward to building on the very constructive engagement we have had with the sector during this challenging time for our country.

Programme Readiness 2020/21

The first step in Programme Readiness 2020/21 is the launch of the on-boarding process on EYP for NCS and ECCE, and on PIP for CCSP Savers and TEC Savers on 2nd June, 2020.

We are asking PAUs (Primary Authorised Users) for your organisation to set up accounts on the Early Years Hive if you haven’t used it before and to ensure that your organisation details are up to date on both the HIVE and PIP.

These readiness tasks include:

  • PAU Certification
  • Organisation details certification
  • Service details certification

For Service Providers who have not previously on-boarded onto the Early Years Hive, this can be completed following the steps in the Quick Guides and Useful Links or following the videos on the NCS YouTube channel. Guidance on on-boarding on PIP can be found in this How-to Guide.

At this is the initial phase of programme readiness, only activities associated with on-boarding can be completed. This includes updating the following: PAU (Primary Authorised User), Organisation details, bank account, portal users, service provider details, Tusla registration, service calendar and fees list. Notes: service calendars and fees lists will be available for CCSP Savers and TEC Savers at a later date.

As we move through the Phases of reopening, we will keep you informed as to when the full suite of programme readiness and contracting processes will be available. We will give you additional information at that time on your requirements and relevant opening and closing dates.

Programme Support Payment (PSP) 2020/21

Programme Support Payments (PSP) will open for applications on PIP from Friday May 29 until Friday June 12 2020; the payments will issue after the application process ends.
A more detailed notice for PSP is available on the PIP Portal and a ‘How to Guide’ including screen shots explaining how to apply through the service provider portal is attached here.

Late applications for PSP will not be accepted.

If a service does not wish to apply, then the advance payment must be returned. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make arrangements to return the payment.

Minister Zappone chairs fifth meeting of Advisory Group on planned reopening of childcare services

Minister Zappone chairs fifth meeting of Advisory Group on planned reopening of childcare services19875672 1337059526348124 484620879276509836 n
From Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, this week chaired the fifth meeting of the expert Advisory Group on the planned reopening of Early Learning and Care (ELC)/ School-age Childcare services (SAC). The Group, together with the recently established Reference Group, are advising Government as work continues to implement the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. The Government’s Roadmap sees crèches, childminders and preschools opening in phase 3 (29 June).

At the meeting, the Group were updated on ongoing work by Government on the development of a funding model for the reopening of the sector. It was agreed that the Department of Children & Youth Affairs will continue to closely liaise with providers in development of this model, through consultation with the Advisory Group and the Reference Group. The Group were also updated on the issuing of the Programme Support Payment (PSP), a total support package of €13 million which will issue this month. The PSP payments recognise the additional time required of providers to complete the administrative work associated with DCYA-funded early learning and care and school age childcare programmes. Providers can apply for the PSP through the Pobal portal.

Following the fourth meeting of the Group and first meeting of the Reference Group last week, HPSC public health guidelines for reopening were issued by the Department to the sector. Further guidance will continue to issue to the sector in the coming weeks. Childcare service providers are being asked to apply the public health guidance to their settings, to determine what capacity they can offer. If there is insufficient capacity for all children whose parents want them to return to the service on 29 June (the initial phase of reopening), childcare providers will be asked to prioritise the children of essential and frontline workers and vulnerable children. If there is sufficient capacity, services will be able to provide places for children who previously registered in childcare services on 12 March, whose parents continue to need childcare for employment or training purposes.

Speaking following the meeting, Minister Zappone said:

“As we continue to work towards the reopening of services at the end of this month, continued consultation and conversation with the childcare sector is more important than ever. My Department will continue to support the sector in work towards an orderly, safe and sustainable reopening of services. Extensive consultation with the sector is a key part of delivering this, and I want to thank each member of the Advisory Group and the Reference Group for their hard work and engagement. I want to encourage parents and providers to make contact with each other as the date for reopening approaches, so we can have as much information as possible on the level of demand and supply we are dealing with. The voice of parents needs to be heard loud and clear as we continue to work to implement the Government’s Roadmap. ”

Extension of DCYA Provider Survey: Update 5th June 2020

Dear Service Provider,PobalLogo

The completion date for the DCYA Provider Survey has been extended to close of business Wednesday, 10th June.

For those Early Learning and Care Providers who have not completed the survey, a link to the survey will be sent by email, together with a guidance note, in time for completion by Wednesday the 10th of June.

A draft text copy of the survey is attached here please note this copy is for information only and cannot be submitted.

Please see the Technical Guidance document for more information. For all other queries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Early Years Team

TWSCS Payments​

Dear Service Provider,PobalLogo

Please be aware that this week’s payments have been made to all services who submitted the TWSCS funding agreement and an application form by Tuesday, 2nd June.

Applications ‘In Review’

Any providers whose applications are still in review will receive a further preliminary payment for one week. These providers can still make changes to the application form. Please refer to Step 6 – Reviewing a submitted Application Form on how to edit and resubmit the form in the Application Guidance Document.

Applications ‘Calculated’

Any providers whose applications have been calculated will receive payments based on the information in the application form, and should receive a further two weeks payment to 19th June. Preliminary payments paid to date will have been reconciled against the actual payment due. Where an overpayment is identified in this reconciliation, no payment will be issued this week. If your application has a status of ‘Calculated’ on the Early Years Hive then changes cannot be made until a later date, which will be communicated in due course.

A payment breakdown view will be available for service providers on the Early Years Hive at the end of June.

If you have any queries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or raise a service request on the Hive.

Early Years Team

Press Release and Report for Government on ’Planning for reopening ELC & SAC services 03/06/2020

Press Release and Report for Government on ’Planning for reopening ELC & SAC services 03/06/2020DCYA main logo

Dear Providers,

Please see the attached press release from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs regarding the fifth meeting of the Advisory Group and a report for Government on ’ Planning for reopening Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare Services’ for your information.

Regards,

Early Years Division.
DCYA.

AIM PROGRAMME 20/21: APPLICATION PROCESS FOR NEW APPLICANTS

Dear Service ProviderPobalLogo

The AIM 2020/2021 programme year is now open for new applicants. Application forms are accessible via the AIM tab on the PIP portal.

Please note, although the AIM application system is open, in light of public health guidance, the delivery of AIM supports are dependent on the timing and nature of the re-opening of the ECCE programme for 2020/21. Further detail on this will be made available by the DCYA in due course.

Also, any AIM support awarded for the 2020/2021 pre-school year will be subject to the childcare service re-opening and the participation of the child or children in pre-school.

Due to current Covid 19 restrictions, a number of temporary changes are being implemented to facilitate the submission and processing of AIM applications. Further information on these changes are available here, please read this document carefully before submitting an application.

Applicants should apply as early as possible to ensure that the relevant supports are in place when required.

If you require assistance, please contact the Early Years Provider Centre at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Regards,
Early Years Team

Minister Zappone announces decisions and guidance to support the reopening of childcare services

Minister Zappone announces decisions and guidance to support the reopening of childcare servicesDCYA main logo

From Department of Children and Youth Affairs:  Published at: 29 May 2020

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, today announced a number of developments to assist childcare providers and parents plan for the reopening of services on June 29.

Minister Zappone welcomed expert guidance provided by the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) written specifically for the childcare sector.

The guidance, developed in consultation with her Department, focuses on a “play pod” model. The “play pod” model restricts interactions between closed groups of children and adults as an alternative to social distancing, which is not possible with young children. The purpose of ‘play-pods’ is to limit the number of people a child has contact with, to facilitate tracing, and to support close, positive interactions between children and their adult caregivers, like in a key-worker system. This system will also reduce the amount of contact adults have with each other. Where possible, there should be two adults in a ‘play-pod’, to allow breaks without need for floating staff. The maximum size of a ‘play-pod’ will be confirmed in the coming days.

Services will now be asked to apply the guidance to their setting and determine what capacity they may offer. It is expected that a significant amount of capacity will be available in individual services that reopen in the summer, subject to, for example, their space, room layout and staffing availability. Whilst there are 4,500 Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare services in the country, fewer than 2,000 of these normally remain open in July and August.

The HPSC guidance developed by their Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control Division (AMRIC) on 'Infection Prevention and Control guidance for settings providing childcare during the COVID-19 Pandemic' was agreed by NPHET’s Expert Advisory Group this week and will be published on the HPSC website today. As services reopen, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will keep the operation of the guidance under close review and take appropriate updated action as required.

The Minister also announced which children would be eligible to resume full or part-time childcare services from 29 June. Whilst initially the Government Roadmap had indicated that services would resume only for the children of essential workers, this has now been widened. Subject to local capacity, services are encouraged to support:

  • Children of health and social care workers, other frontline workers, childcare practitioners and parents who need access to childcare in order to return to work.
  • Vulnerable children sponsored under the National Childcare Scheme(NCS) (for example, children who are homeless and Tusla referrals) and children funded through legacy childcare schemes who are experiencing poverty, disadvantage or child welfare issues.
  • Children with disabilities who previously attended part or full-time early learning and care, including those preparing to start school in September.
  • Children previously registered in childcare services on March 12, whose parents continue to need childcare for employment or training purposes and who were assured that they would retain their place through conditions attached to the Department’s Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (TWSCS). If capacity issues emerge, priority should be given to the children of essential or frontline workers.

Childminders will also be able to resume looking after children in the childminder’s home from June 29, while complying with HPSC advice.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has been engaging intensively with a number of organisations representing the childcare sector, through an Advisory Group. It is preparing a range of additional guidance and resources to assist the sector to prepare for reopening. These will start to issue in the coming days and continue over the 4 remaining weeks before opening.

Speaking after today’s Government meeting, Minister Zappone said:

“My Department is delighted to have this detailed health guidance from the HPSC to help services plan for reopening. I am also very appreciative to the many representatives of the sector on the Advisory Group who have assisted with the planning to date and who will continue to assist with further resources over the coming 4 weeks.”

The Department has conducted research to ascertain the level of demand among parents to assess the level of demand from parents for childcare services. IPSOS MRBI carried out a survey of 563 households with children under the age of 15 years. This was conducted from 22 – 24th May 2020.

Preliminary data has revealed a number of important findings in relation to parents’ childcare arrangements during the COVID-19 restrictions, and their plans once restrictions are eased in line with the Government’s Roadmap. Key findings include that:

  • Prior to restrictions, over half of respondents (56%) cared for their children in their home, with 27% availing of centre-based Early Learning and Care or School-Aged Childcare. A further 18% had the support of grandparents, while 15% used childminders for their childcare needs.
  • Unsurprisingly, since restrictions have been in place, the majority of parents (97%) have reported caring for their children at home.
  • While 27% of parents were availing of centre-based care prior to restrictions, looking ahead to when restrictions are initially lifted, 13% of parents intend to return their children to centre-based care.

Acknowledging the findings, Minister Zappone noted:

“The voice of parents is key to how we move towards the phased re-opening of childcare services. They will make choices in the best interests of their children and their families. Understanding their intentions and concerns will allow my Department to plan with greater precision, addressing concerns parents may have.”

With the support of Pobal and Better Start, the Department is also currently conducting research among Childcare Providers across the country.

Whilst demand for services may be lower than it was in March, some working parents who were using childcare services before the closures on March 12 will be reassured to know that they may now have the option to return to the service.

The Minister is strongly encouraging service providers and parents to make contact with each other so that the level of demand and supply for places from June 29th onwards can be known.

Minister Zappone said:

“For the sake of children, families and our economy, I hope that those childcare services that normally operate over the summer will be able to resume their service on June 29th. This is essential so that parents can get back to work. This is a national effort. The Trojan efforts of our frontline workers have assisted us this far. I know that all of those who can play a part in getting our economy on a recovery path will do so. It is also very important that vulnerable children will be able to access early learning and care services, as soon as they are permitted to reopen. Children and families are at the heart of our plan. Re-opening childcare will be as child centred as possible and as much risk as possible will be mitigated. The safety and wellbeing of children and enabling them resume social interaction and play with their friends is what we are focused on.”

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