The National Childcare Scheme (NCS)

The National Childcare Scheme is a new scheme that provides financial support to help parents to meet the costs of childcare.


The National Childcare Scheme provides 2 types of childcare subsidy for children over 6 months of age:


  • A universal subsidy for children under 3. Children over 3 who have not yet qualified for the ECCE are also eligible. It is not means tested.
  • An income-assessed subsidy for children up to 15. It is means tested.


You cannot get the Universal Subsidy and an income-assessed subsidy at the same time. However, you can choose which subsidy is of greatest benefit to you.


Your childcare provider (this includes childminders and school-age childcare services) must be registered with Tusla and have a National Childcare Scheme contract with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.


You must apply for the subsidy, but it is paid directly to your childcare provider. Your provider then will subtract your subsidy from your childcare bill.


You can apply online and by paper application – see