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Funding Schemes - National Childcare Scheme

What is the National Childcare Scheme (NCS)?

The NCS provides financial support to help families with their early learning and childcare costs.

There are two types of subsidies available for children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years of age:

  • A universal subsidy which is not means tested and provides a universal subsidy of €2.14 (sept'24) per hour for a maximum of 45 hours per week.
  • An income-assessed subsidy which is means tested and will be calculated based on your family's individual circumstances. Rates will vary depending on your level of family income, your child's age and educational stage, and the number of children in your family.

You should apply for whichever subsidy is of the greatest benefit to you and your family. A subsidy calculator is available here which will help you estimate how much you may be eligible for before you apply.

How do I apply for the NCS?

You can apply online for the subsidy here using a verified MyGovID. Should you need guidance, please see our online Application guide, here.

Alternatively, you can contact the Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530 to request a postal application. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Once your application is approved, you can use your subsidy with any participating childcare provider, including childminders, who are registered with Tusla.

A full list of NCS childcare service providers is available here. This page also displays the services' fees for both NCS and ECCE.

Who can I contact for further advice and support?

You can find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the NCS, here. This includes information on how to use or renew your NCS award, and how to confirm claims.

If you have a question that is not covered, or you need further support, please contact the Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530. You can also log a query on the NCS website here.

NCS Sponsor Referrals

These are special arrangements whereby designated bodies can refer a child to the Scheme where childcare is needed on child welfare, child protection, family support or other specified grounds. For more information on the Sponsor process click here to access the NCS Policy Guidelines. Information on the NCS Sponsor Referral process is included in this document. Alternatively, the NCS Sponsors Team can be contact by phone at 01 906 8535 from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday or by email at

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