Frontier’s formal review of the first year of the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) in Ireland has been published today, as part of the monitoring, review and evaluation process.
The report was commissioned by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in Ireland (DCEDIY) and considers how effectively the NCS is operating and whether it is meeting its objectives.
Findings in the report point include:
- There were a number of limitations to the evidence used in the review. Most importantly, the limited time for the scheme to establish itself and the interruption of the Covid-19 pandemic mean that the findings should be treated as indicative and preliminary.
- There were several indications of positive effects of the scheme: the design has broadened support and included a strong progressive element; providers have been willing and able to deliver the NCS without (as yet) major impacts on provision; and parents have broadly engaged with the scheme and report positive impacts on the cost and use of childcare, their work choices and their family finances.
- Early concerns include barriers to take-up among some vulnerable families and the level of support for some families, the administrative burden on providers, the constraints of current provision structures on the scheme flexibility and potential future adverse financial impacts on providers in disadvantaged areas, and the clarity of the scheme structure and value of the universal subsidy.
- There are a number of areas where further research could help inform on early concerns.
You can read the full report here.
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