This is a reminder of the Sponsor process under NCS. NCS makes special arrangements for vulnerable children and families, a referral is required from a sponsor body for this. The following designated statutory bodies may make referrals for childcare support under NCS:
- Minister for Education and Skills
- Minister for Justice and Equality
- Child and Family Agency
- Local authorities / Homeless agencies
Each Sponsor Body has its own eligibility criteria, and its own referral form, which sets out those criteria. The Sponsor decides if a particular child is eligible; eligibility may include age rules (e.g. HSE only refer children under 4 years). The Sponsor Referral Officer will have the relevant referral form and will link with the family to complete the form, which then must be signed and stamped by the Sponsor.
Sponsors decide on the number of hours and weeks the Subsidy will cover, up to a max of 45 hours (from 7th September, 2020) and usually up to 52 weeks.
The Sponsor process:
- Referrals are posted to us. They may be marked ‘Urgent’ and these will be prioritised: the CHICK will issue by email and also by phone.
- We receive the referral and it is converted to a Sponsor Application on the system.
- The CHICK notification is emailed to the Sponsor contact (Local Authority/Homeless Agency, HSE, Tusla) or to the parent (in the case of DJE and DES referrals).
- The Sponsor shares the CHICK with the parent.
- The parent brings the CHICK to the Provider to set up the claim for the child.
- A flat rate is paid by DCYA to the Provider.
Parents do not pay fees where the child has a Sponsor subsidy. Attendance rules for Sponsored children take into account this vulnerable cohort (see Chapter 14 of the NCS Policy Guidelines for details).
Training has been rolled out for the Sponsor Bodies and is available on an ongoing basis.
Children who were referred under CCSP by Tusla or HSE or as a CCSRT may now seek a Sponsor Referral under NCS. Any provider or parent who requires support to access the NCS Sponsor Process can contact the Parent Support Centre by phone at 01 906 8530 or the Early Years Provider Centre by email at EYPC@pobal.ie or by phone at 01 511 7222. They will provide support and a contact in the relevant organisation. Any child who is eligible will be able to be sponsored.
There is also a ‘Sponsor Referral’ FAQ available on the Early Years Hive – https://earlyyearshive.ncs.gov.ie/faq/
Early Years Team