National Childcare Scheme


The National Childcare Scheme is our pathway to truly accessible, affordable, quality childcare. The NCS scheme came into effect on November 20th 2019 and replaces all previous targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and user-friendly Scheme to help parents meet the cost of quality childcare. 

Under the National Childcare Scheme, subsidies are available for families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years who are attending any participating Tusla registered childcare service, including any Tusla registered childminder and school age childcare services. 


There are two types of subsidies under the National Childcare Scheme: an Universal subsidy and an Income Assessed subsidy. 

Universal Subsidies are available to all families with children under 3 years old, or families with children over 3 years who have not yet qualified for the free preschool (ECCE) programme. It is not means tested and provides 50 cent per hour towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 45 hours per week.  

Income Assessed Subsidies are available to families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years. This subsidy is means tested and will be calculated based on your individual circumstances. Your rate will vary depending on your level of family income, your child’s age and educational stage, and the number of children in your family. The subsidy can be used towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 45 hours if you are working, studying or training, or in circumstances where you are unavailable for childcare, and a maximum of 15 hours if you are not working, studying or training. 

For further information on the subsidies and How to Apply visit the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) website. 

The NCS website also includes the NCS Subsidy Calculator; a useful tool to help you estimate how much subsidy you may be eligible to apply for. 


The National Childcare Scheme Parent Support Centre is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm Telephone: 01 906 8530.

You can also contact Dublin City Childcare Committee for information and support. 

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