National Childcare Funding Programmes

National Childcare Scheme (NCS)

For more information on this scheme and how to apply, please go to:
The Parent Support Centre for the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) is open Monday to Friday from 9:00am – 5:00pm. The contact number is: (01) 906 8530
NCS Sponsors: Dedicated Phone Line/Email Address. The NCS Sponsors Team can be contacted Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm by phone at 01 906 8535 or by email at
Please note that the NCS Sponsors Team can only support on Sponsor-related queries. 
The Early Years Provider Centre is open Monday to Friday from 8.00am - 6.00pm.
The contact number is: (01) 5117222 or email:  

Free Pre-school (ECCE) Scheme Calculator

Please click on the link below (Click Media) for eligibility dates for the Free Pre-school (ECCE) scheme:

Core Funding  

Core Funding is a new funding stream for Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) services introduced in Budget 2022 and informed by the work of the Expert Group to develop a new funding model for ELC and SAC, outlined in Partnership for the Public Good: A New Funding Model for Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare.

Core Funding is a payment to providers designed to meet the combined objectives of:

  • Improved quality through better pay and conditions for the workforce;
  • Supporting the establishment of an Employment Regulation Order through the Joint Labour Committee;
  • Supporting the employment of graduate staff;
  • Improved affordability for parents by ensuring that fees do not increase; and
  • Improved sustainability and stability for services. 

Important note: The other funding streams such as ECCE (standard capitation), NCS, AIM, CCSP and TEC as well as parents fees all continue to be available to services in addition to the Core Funding allocation. However, Programme Support Payments and ECCE Higher Capitation are no longer available as they are incorporated into Core Funding.

Funding guarantee

The change in approach to funding may mean that a very small number of providers (estimated to be approximately 50 in total or 1% of providers) may receive somewhat less in Core Funding to what they had previously received in Higher Capitation payments and Programme Support Payments (PSP) combined. This affects a small number of services who have particularly benefited from the previous approach to Higher Capitation by having large ECCE groups with high occupancy. For this small number of providers, DCEDIY are issuing a funding guarantee whereby, under Core Funding, providers will receive the same level of funding as they received from Higher Capitation and PSP, assuming the numbers of children, graduate staff and type of service offered remains the same in the 2022/23 programme year as in 2021/22.

December 2021 - Launch of Major Reform for Funding and the Workforce Development Plan 2022 - 2028

Two Reports launched by Minister O'Gorman:

  • Partnership for the Public Good (A New Funding Model for Early Learning and Care & School Age Care) 
  • Nurturing Skills (Workforce Development Plan for Early Learning and Care & School Age Care 2022 - 2028).

Press Releases:

Please click here to view the press release for the report Partnership for the Public Good.

Please click here to view the press release for the report Nurturing Skills.

The Reports:

Please click here to view the report Partnership for the Public Good.

Please click here to download the report Nurturing Skills (At the end of page on link).

The Webinar:

Please click here to view the Webinar launching the reports.