Child care

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6,000 after school childcare places

Meantime, the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, announced that a pilot for the new afterschool child care scheme would be launched in April  (Dail Eireann, Debates, 5th March 2013, 19-20).  This was part of the initiative announced in the budget for 6,000 new places for low income and social welfare families and add to the 40,000 places provided already.  A full, comprehensive child care programme would cost €1bn, an ambitious target in current financial circumstances, so this was a start, but she hoped that as the economy grew and we gained savings from the financial engineering of the bank deals, there would be greater scope.  Later, she announced that her officials were working on the exact parameters of the scheme, which was being funded by savings of €14m within her own department (Dail Eireann, Debates, 12th March 2013, 244).  Separately, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, announced that the new School Age Childcare initiative would be fully rolled out in September 2013 (Dail Eireann, Debates, 5th March 2013, 392).