After-School Child Care Scheme
The After-School Child Care Scheme (ASCC) supports low-income people to return to work. The scheme provides subsidised after-school childcare places to people with children of primary school age who find employment, increase their employment or take up a place on an employment support scheme.
The subsidised after-school childcare places are provided by local childcare providers (both community and commercial). You pay your contribution directly to the childcare provider.
The Department of Social Protection has published an information leaflet on the scheme - SW135.
Since 25 June 2015 people getting Family Income Supplement (FIS) who increase the hours they work can apply for the scheme.
You may be eligible for the scheme if you:
- Have 1 or more children aged between 4 and 13 who are in primary school and
- Are currently getting either Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit, Jobseeker's Transitional payment, One-Parent Family Payment or are on an employment support programme and have been getting your payment (or a combination of any of the qualifying payments) for at least 3 months
- Or have been getting Family Income Supplement (FIS) (for any length of time) and increase your hours of work
To avail of the scheme you must either:
- Start a new job (including a job under the JobsPlus initiative) or
- Increase the number of hours you currently work or
- Take up a place on an employment support programme (except the Community Employment scheme)
People who are not eligible
If you are on a Community Employment (CE) scheme you are not eligible for the ASCC as the CE Childcare Programme caters for people on CE schemes with children up to 13 years of age.) Self-employed people who are getting Jobseeker’s Allowance and people who are signing for credits only are not eligible for the scheme.
If you are allocated an after-school child care place(s), you are entitled to a total of 52 weeks of after-school child care (regardless of the number of children you have) provided your circumstances do not change.
If you use the service part-time in a week, this is counts as a full week. In other words, you are entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks on the scheme, even if you only use the scheme part-time.
Provided that your circumstances do not change, your entitlement will last for 52 weeks from the date that you first take up an after-school child care place. Your childcare provider will notify you when the end of your eligibility period is approaching (see ‘Other options’ below for other childcare schemes you may be able to avail of).
If you lose your job you will no longer be eligible for the scheme. However, if you get your job back or find a new job, you may be entitled to use any weeks remaining from your 52-week provision if you are still eligible.
You can apply for subsidised after-school child care up to 26 weeks after you start your new job, take up additional employment or start your employment support scheme.
Changes to your situation
If you are offered subsidised after-school child care, you must immediately notify your local Intreo centre or social welfare office of any change in your circumstances that may affect your entitlement. For example, you may no longer be entitled to the scheme if:
- You lose your job
- You reduce your hours of employment
- You leave your employment programme
- Your child is no longer of primary school age
If you meet the criteria and are offered a place on the scheme, you can get after-school child care at a subsidised daily rate of €3 per day per child (€15 per week), which you pay directly to the childcare provider.
The scheme also offers a pick-up service at no additional cost.
The amount you pay will not vary during school holidays. If you need full-time child care during holidays, the additional cost will be funded by the scheme for up to 10 weeks. However you cannot use the childcare scheme only for holiday periods, you must use the scheme during the school year to be eligible for school holiday child care.
How to apply
Contact your local Intreo centre or social welfare office for more information on the ASCC. Staff there will explain the application process and give you the relevant forms. If you are eligible, you will be given a letter confirming your eligibility. You will then be referred to your nearest County Childcare Committee (CCC) who will arrange your afterschool childcare place(s).
Other childcare options
People on CE schemes can apply for child care places under the CE Childcare (CEC) Programme which covers pre-school and afterschool childcare places. If you are taking part in employment or training schemes the CETS scheme may be available.
There are also childcare places available for low income parents under the Community Childcare Programme.
Pre-school children can avail of a free pre-school year.
Where to apply
Contact your local social welfare office or Intreo centre.