ECCE & Other Government Schemes

On this page you’ll find information on several state funded schemes offering support for parents of young children.  For more details please call us on (01) 2450935 and we will be happy to assist you.

Giraffe Childcare offers the following Government funded Childcare schemes:

  • Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE)
  • Universal Subsidy towards Childcare costs *effective September 2017*
  • Training and Employment Childcare scheme (TEC – formerly CETS)
  • Community Employment Childcare (CEC)
  • Community Childcare Scheme (CCS)
  • Affordable Childcare Scheme *effective September 2017*


The state’s Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE) is an initiative to provide a free pre-school year for children before they start primary school.

With effect from 1st September 2016, children can avail of the ECCE scheme for up to two years prior to starting primary school, depending on the date the child turned three years old. 

The examples below may assist you with in ascertaining when your child will be eligible:

If born within these dates below:Your child can join the ECCE scheme at the entry point below:
1st January 2015 – 31st December 20151st September 2018 + 1st September 2019
 1st January 2016 – 31st December 20161st September 2019 + 1st September 2020
1st January 2017 – 31st December 20171st September 2020 + 1st September 2021
 1st January 2018 – 31st December 20181st September 2021 + 1st September 2022
 1st January 2019 – 31st December 20191st September 2022 + 1st September 2023

The ECCE scheme provides for a free placement of up to 15 hours per week for 38 weeks in line with the school term. The normal schedule for the free pre-school year is 3 hours per day over 38 weeks. However, children attending on a full-time/part-time schedule who are eligible for the ECCE pre-school year will receive the ECCE grant deducted from their monthly fees.

Once your child is three years of age, and has joined the ECCE scheme at the relevant entry point, they can remain in the scheme until they start primary school, at either four or five years of age. In delivering the ECCE scheme to all our Preschool children, Giraffe adheres to the principles of Síolta and Aistear, the national framework for early years care and education.

All Giraffe Childcare centres are registered for the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE) Government Pre School Scheme. Please contact us at (01) 2450935 or email  info@giraffe.ie for more information about ECCE Preschool places. 

Universal Subsidy towards childcare costs

With effect from September 2017, all parents with a child attending a Tusla registered childcare service will receive a subsidy of up to €87 per month (€1044 per annum) towards their childcare costs. The sudsidy is based on a rate of 50 cents per hour and will be allocated pro-rata depending on the number of hours per week a child attends their childcare service. The maximum rate of €80 per month is based on 40 hours childcare per week.  The subsidy will be available to all children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years and will be paid directly to the childcare provider. The childcare provider will deduct the subsidy from the parents’ childcare fees. When your child reaches three years of age they will avail of the ECCE preschool scheme (above) until they start primary school.


Training and Employment Childcare scheme for ETB students (Education and Training Board; formerly FAS and VEC) – Providing Free Crèche places.

If you have applied for an ETB training programme, you may qualify for a free childcare place under the government Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) scheme. The purpose of this programme is to assist parents taking eligible ETB (formerly FÁS and VEC) courses to undertake training by providing supported childcare places.The allocation of places under the scheme is managed by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, via the City and County Childcare Committees (CCC’s).

In order to book a childcare place in any of our crèches settings, you will require a letter from your course co-ordinator confirming that you are eligible for a TEC place. The letter should also outline the start date and finish date of the course. There is an additional charge where a child is less than 12 months old or is attending afterschool provision. 


Crèche places for Community Employment Participants – Government Funded CEC Scheme. The CEC programme provides subsidised part time crèche places (up to 19.5hours per week) for Community Employment participants. Giraffe operates the CEC scheme in all of its crèches and in order to book a place, you will require a letter from your sponsor confirming that you are eligible for a childcare place.


If you are currently availing of one or more of the following supports, you may qualify for a reduced cost childcare place under the government Community Childcare Scheme (CCS):

• Medical card • One Parent Family Payment • Illness/ Injury Benefit or Disability allowance • Carer’s Benefit/Allowance • Family Income Supplement (FIS) • Job Seekers Benefit/ Allowance • Secondary School students• Widows/Widowers/Invalidity/State Pension• Tus Payment• Community Employment/Back to Work Allowance• Springboard/ETB/Solas Students

In order to apply for this childcare scheme we will require copies of your government support letter and medical cards, together with dates of birth and pps numbers.

Affordable Childcare Scheme (effective September 2017)

The Affordable Childcare Scheme will take effect from September 2017. It is a targeted subsidy to assist with childcare costs, for children from 6 months old up to 15 years of age. The level of subsidy will depend on:

  • The family’s net after tax income
  • The number of children in a family
  • The ages of the children.

The maximum Affordable Childcare subsidy amounts to €8,000 per annum, or €667 per month towards childcare costs, and will be available to families with a net (after tax) income of €22,700 or less. The level of subsidy tapers downwards as a family’s net income rises, with no Affordable Childcare Subsidy available when net family income, with one child, reaches €47,500 or more.  If a family has two children the maximum net income threshold increases to €51,300. The subsidy is payable to the childcare provider and is deducted from the net fee payable by the parent. It is intended that the Affordable Childcare Scheme will also be available to children in addition to the ECCE preschool scheme (above), where a family requires additional hours of childcare during the day. As well as assisting families with incomes of up to €47,500 or less, this scheme will replace the above TEC, CEC, and CCS government funded schemes when it comes into effect in September 2017. It is intended that parents will be able to apply for the Affordable Childcare Scheme online, and obtain information on what level of subsidy is available to them, based on the family net income, the number of children, and the ages of the children.

If you would like to know more about how you might avail of a childcare place under any of these government schemes, please contact us at (01) 2450935 or email us at info@giraffe.ie and we will be happy to assist you.