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Offaly County Childcare Committee is located at St Joseph's Community Centre in Kilcormac, Co Offaly.

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Ministers O’Gorman and Humphreys announce details of My Little Library 2023

From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Published on 8 June 2023 

Last updated on 7 June 2023 Little Libraries 2023

Roderic O’ Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, together with Heather Humphreys, Minister for Rural and Community Development, today launched #MyLittleLibrary2023. This initiative, funded through Dormant Accounts Funding, offers a free book bag with storybooks for children and supportive information for parents for all children starting school in September 2023. 

The aim of the initiative is that all children will start school with storybooks in their homes and as members of their local library.

This year’s initiative builds on the success of My Little Library 2022 when over 46,000 book bags were distributed to children starting school, in their local library. The initiative resulted in over 37,000, 4 and 5-year-old children joining the library.

Roderic OGorman


Speaking today about My Little Library 2023, Minister O’Gorman said:

“I am delighted to announce the second year of the First 5 – My Little Library book bag for all the boys and girls leaving pre-school and starting school later this year. I hope that all the families with children starting school will visit their local library and pick up their My Little Library book bag and join the library for a lifetime of stories and reading.

“Thanks to our wonderful libraries across the country for partnering with us on this important initiative.”




 Minister Humphreys added: 

Minister Humphreys

“It is great to see the My Little Library initiative go from strength to strength with the support of the library service. Parents signing their children up as library members are giving them a gift that will last a lifetime.”

Monaghan County Librarian and Chair of the Public Library National Strategic Programmes Committee, Catherine Elliott said:

“Local authority public libraries are delighted to be delivering the My Little Library Book Bag initiative for the second year.

“We look forward to welcoming all of the 4 and 5-year-old children starting school and their families in to collect their book bags and discover the benefits of library membership. Reading is so important for personal development and supporting children as they grow.

“We hope that our new cohort of library members and their families will come back regularly to refill their book bags and take part in all the events and activities we have on offer at the library”.


The First 5 Little Library Initiative 2023 will:

Provide a First 5 - My Little Library book bag to every child starting school in September for collection in libraries across the country.

Offer free library membership, with a specially designed Little Library card wallet, for the children.

Encourage free membership and use of the library to all children and adults in the family.

Include information for parents in each bag to support children prepare for the next stage of their learning journey.

Offer book bags in Irish and English.

The First 5 Little Library Initiative is funded under Dormant Accounts Funding. It delivers on one of the many actions under First 5: the whole-of-Government strategy to improve the lives of babies, young children, and their families. This ten-year plan aims to ensure all children in Ireland have positive early experiences and get a great start in life. Find out more at

When the Roof is the Sky: Guidance for the registration and inspection of early years services operating outdoors

Learning Outdoors 🐜🐞🌿🍂🌾
Today the Early Years Inspectorate published a guidance document designed specifically for settings operating mainly or fully outdoors. EYI Outdoor Guidance

The document provides support and advice on how services can meet the requirements of the Early Years Regulations in an outdoor environment.

The document can be accessed here: 👇

Nutrition Standards for Early Learning and Care Services Launch

From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth 

Published on 4 May 2023 DCEDIY logo

Last updated on 4 May 2023

Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, together with Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy, has today, launched the Nutrition Standards for Early Learning and Care Services.

The aim of these Nutrition Standards, developed in collaboration with Healthy Ireland and the Department of Health, is to inform the development and implementation of Healthy Eating Policy and practice in Early Learning and Care Services. This is to ensure agreement on the promotion of healthy foods and drinks in main meals, snacks and celebrations in partnership with children, parents, service providers and the wider community.

These standards show the importance of the need to recognise that small children have small tummies and as a result Educators and parents need to be mindful of the portion sizes that children receive when eating. The Children’s Food Pyramid will assist families in making healthier choices for their child as it provides a range of information on the number of servings from each shelf needed at different ages. It also recognises that some children of the same age will need more food and some will need less.

Minister O Gorman said nutrition guidelines

Minister Naughton said:

“These standards are another step to help make the healthy choice the easier choice for everyone”.

I am confident that these standards will assist parents and Early Learning and Care Services to help children develop a healthy relationship with food which will set them up for a healthier life."


The Nutrition Standards for Early Learning and Care Service can be found here:

Nutrition Standards for Early Learning and Care Services - English

Nutrition Standards for Early Learning and Care Services - Irish

Landmark review of the Child Care Act 1991 receives approval to be drafted

Landmark review of the Child Care Act 1991 receives approval to be draftedChild care act review 19 04 2023
From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Published on 19 April 2023

Last updated on 19 April 2023

• The Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2023 provides for the review and update of the Child Care Act 1991, the primary Act guiding child welfare and protection in Ireland

• The new Bill intends to capture positive policy and practice developments and address legislative gaps identified during the review process and will also revise and update the regulation of early learning and childcare services.

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, has today (19 April) announced government approval to draft the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2023.

The Bill, when enacted, will revise and update the 1991 Act to better reflect changes in child welfare and protection services in Ireland in the 30 years since enactment of the 1991 Act, as well as capture current legislative, policy and practice developments.

The Bill will also revise and update the regulation of early learning and childcare services.

The development of the Bill was informed by significant engagement and consultation with stakeholders to collect their views on the legislation including through public consultations, written submissions and a number of consultation events. This included extensive engagement with Tusla on subjects covered by the 1991 Act.

Some of the most significant areas of change proposed are as follows:

• Introduction of a guiding principles section to the Act, with the best interests of the child as the overriding principle.

• Introduction of a duty to cooperate between relevant bodies, such as Tusla, Government Departments, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and An Garda Síochána (AGS). This cooperation will include the sharing of information between relevant bodies and Tusla, and with each other, in accordance with the law and as necessary and proportionate.

• The voice of the child is to be strengthened both in court proceedings and in decisions taken outside the court setting by introducing a principle that children should be able to participate in the decision-making process.

• Amendments to Section 3 of the Child Care and to Children First Act 2015 related to assessments of reports of harm.

• Amendments to existing rules for Supervision Orders, Interim Care Orders, Care Orders, Emergency Care Orders and Voluntary Care Agreements.

• Amendments to Part VIIA to allow Tusla Early Years Inspectorate to immediately close unregistered early learning and childcare services, to temporarily suspend registered services where there are concerns about significant risk to children, to share information on enforcement action with parents, to place some additional enforcement measures on a legislative footing, and to introduce a “Fit Person” regulation.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister O’Gorman said:

“The Child Care Act 1991 was a transformative piece of legislation, helping to promote the protection of children. We want to build on that, making the Act more child-centred, and taking account of the many societal and legislative changes since 1991 including the establishment of the Child and Family Agency, Children First legislation and the children’s referendum.”

The General Scheme will now be referred to the Office of the Attorney General for priority drafting of the Bill. The text of the Bill will be finalised as a matter of priority and it is intended to progress the legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming months.

For more information on the review of the Child Care Act click here

For more information on the public consultation on a review of regulations for early learning and care click here

For the report on a public consultation on a review of regulations for early learning and care click here

DCEDIY : NCS Attendance Letter to Parents

Dear Providers,NCS 18 04 2023

Following on from the update on attendance rules that issued via the e-bulletin last month, please find bellow a copy of a letter that will be sent to all parents registered with NCS.

The Early Years Team


Dear Parent/Guardian,

We are writing to you to remind you of the attendance rules for the National Childcare Scheme (NCS), and in particular the flexibility under the Scheme to support families when there are occasional changes to your child’s attendance pattern.

We recognise that there will be occasions where your child’s attendance is less than your registered hours. This could be due to illness, appointments, early collections and late drop offs. Picking your child up early every now and then has no effect on your subsidy, and childcare providers will routinely round up your child’s daily attendance to the nearest full hour. Missing a day due to illness every now and then or taking 2 weeks holiday will not affect your subsidy.

For more information read on:

My Registered Hours

When your NCS application was approved, you received a unique CHICK code, along with a maximum number of weekly hours that the subsidy will be paid. This is the code you took to your childcare provider.

NCS is designed to be flexible. For example, a subsidy covering up to 20 hours can be used for four half-day sessions (8am – 1pm) or could be used for two full-day sessions (8am-6pm).

You can use the subsidised hours in a way that best suits your family needs and the sessions your chosen childcare provider is offering.

When you registered, both you and the provider will have confirmed how many hours you planned to use. It is important that this reflects the hours your child will actually be attending childcare. For example, if you are entitled to the maximum 45 hour a week subsidy but you know your child will be attending for 30 hours a week, you should ask your childcare provider to register for 30 hours. When you are confirming the registration, you must make sure the hours your provider has registered are correct.

Occasionally using different hours

Subsidies will only be reduced if your child is continuously absent from a service, or not using the agreed hours for a prolonged period.

Continuously absent means 4 weeks or more (with some exceptions for prolonged illness and certain other exceptional events).

Not using agreed hours for a prolonged period means not using the hours you agreed every week for 8 weeks or more, at which point the provider will be notified and will alert you.

If the reduced hours were temporary and you return to your registered hours within the next four weeks, then you don’t have to do anything.

If the hours used don’t return to those registered within this time period, then after 12 weeks of using fewer hours than your registration, the number of hours that can be claimed will be capped to reflect the number of hours actually attended on average in the previous 12 weeks. This will only affect your subsidy from this point on however, no money will be reclaimed from you or the provider for the initial 12 week period.

Permanently using different hours

If you plan to continue using these reduced hours in the future, you should inform your childcare provider so they can update your registration.

If you require more hours at certain times of the year up to the maximum hours allowed – for example, your child is in ECCE or school and you want to increase hours during mid-terms and summer holidays - this is allowed on the scheme, once it is agreed with your provider. It is important to note that only hours when the child is not in ECCE or school can be claimed for under the NCS.

We hope that this information proves useful, but if you have any further questions please contact the Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530 for further advice.

Supporting Quality Childcare in Offaly

Offaly County Childcare Committee support the development of quality, affordable, inclusive, accessible childcare and family friendly services for all children in every part of the county.

Offaly County Childcare Committee has been meeting since May 2001 and is made up of representatives from the statutory sector, social partners, community groups, voluntary groups, the Community and Voluntary Forum, National Voluntary Children's Organisations, providers of childcare, and parents - all of whom have a vested interest in childcare provision in the county.

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