The National Childcare Scheme aims to improve children’s outcomes, support lifelong learning, make work pay, reduce child poverty and tangibly reduce the cost of quality childcare for thousands of families across Ireland. 

What is the National Childcare Scheme?

The National Childcare Scheme is our pathway to truly accessible, affordable, quality childcare. From October 2019 it will replace all previous targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and user-friendly Scheme to help parents meet the cost of quality childcare.

Supports are available for families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years who are attending any participating Tusla registered childcare service, including any Tusla registered childminder.

There are two types of subsidies under the National Childcare Scheme:

Universal Subsidies are available to all families with children under three years old. They are also available to families with children over three years who have not yet qualified for the free preschool programme (ECCE). This subsidy is not means tested and provides 50c per hour towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 40 hours per week.

Income Assessed Subsidies are available to families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years. This subsidy is means tested and will be calculated based on your individual circumstances. Your rate will vary depending on your level of family income, your child’s age and educational stage, and the number of children in your family.


Important Change in NCS Hours Available to Parents from 7 September 2020

Additional funding was secured last year under Budget 2020 for enhancements to be made to the National Childcare Scheme. From September 2020, the maximum number of subsidised hours available to families will increase from 40 to 45 hours per week.

In addition to these 5 hours, the maximum “wraparound” hours for primary school children will also increase by one additional hour. From September 2020, children in Junior and Senior Infants can avail of up to 23 wraparound hours per week in term time (previously 17), and children in 1st to 6th class can avail of up to 18 wraparound hours per week in term time (previously 12).

Child’s Educational Stage Term Time Hours Non-Term Time Hours Post 7th September 2020 Term Time Hours Post 7th September 2020 Non-Term Time Hours
Preschool 25 40 30 45
Junior to Senior Infants 17 40 23 45
1st to 6th Class 12 40 18 45
Post Primary School up to 15 years old 10 40 15 45


For further information on the new scheme please click here:

Or feel free to call us in the office on 062 64200

The National Childcare Scheme Parent Support Centre is now open: 01-9068530

If you have a specific query please email: