Changes to the Government Childcare Funding!

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

With effect from 24 August 2020, all childcare subsidy schemes are being moved onto the National Childcare Scheme (NCS), except for the ECCE preschool scheme.

Depending on your child’s date of birth you will need to register your child for the following subsidy schemes :

Date of Birth of Child Childcare Scheme Link to Register
1 January 2016 to 31 December  2017 ECCE Scheme
On or before 1 January 2018 NCS Scheme


ECCE Preschool Scheme

If your child was born in 2016 or 2017 (between 1st Jan 2016 and 31 December 2017), your child will qualify for the ECCE preschool scheme from September 2020. This scheme provides for a subsidy of €2,451 per annum based on 5 days per week care (€64.50 over 38 weeks). Funding is pro rata for part time care. In order to register children for the scheme, Giraffe will require your child’s full name, pps number and date of birth. One registered, we will deduct the ECCE preschool grant off your fees.

To register for the ECCE preschool year please CLICK HERE

National Childcare Scheme (NCS)

All children born on or after 1 January 2018, will need to register for the NCS scheme in order to avail of childcare fee subsidies from 24 August 2020.

If your child started with Giraffe before 20 November 2019, he/she will be registered under other schemes (such as the CCSPU and/or ECCE preschool schemes) and in order to continue to avail of fee subsidies you will need to apply for the NCS before 24 August 2020. For most parents the level of funding will not change, the change is only in the way the scheme is administered.

How to apply:

The easiest and fastest way to apply is online at

You will need:

  • A verified MyGovID account*
  • Your children’s information such as date of birth and PPSN
  • Your/your par employment and income related details for income assessed subsidy if the household net income is under €60,000. Otherwise you should apply for the Universal subsidy
  • Your partner’s PPSN, employment and income related details (if you are a member of a couple)

*  To obtain this you need a basic MyGovID account and a Public Service Card with a verified mobile phone number.  For full instructions, please go to

If you or your partner don’t already have a Public Services Card you will need to apply by post. To do so, please contact the Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. These applications will take longer to process and may affect the start date of the subsidy payment.

When your application has been approved, you will receive an NCS award for each child, containing their unique CHICK key (Childcare Identifier Code Key) and details of rate & number of eligible hours. You will need to share this with us so that we can register your child on the NCS portal (called HIVE) and enter the number of hours that your child attends.

After you receive your CHICK key please send this CHICK code in an email to stating your child’s name , date of birth and the centre your child attends.

After Giraffe registers your child and the hours, you will receive a notification from the registration system asking you to confirm that the details entered are correct. Once you send your confirmation, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will pay the subsidy to us on your behalf, and we will, in turn, subtract this amount from your monthly fee. If you do not validate our registration on the HIVE Portal we cannot deduct the subsidy from your fees.

If your child started with Giraffe after 20 November 2019, he/she may already be registered under NCS. As you are aware, all NCS Government subsidies were suspended during the COVID-19 closure so childcare providers have to re-activate or “extend” the registrations from our reopening date of 29 June.  You will receive a message on the HIVE portal requesting that you validate the extension of your child’s registration.

Please note that it is important that you do this – if you do not, we cannot deduct the subsidy from your fees from 24th August 2020 onwards.

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