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Minister O’Gorman announces plans for €14m boost in support for children with a disability accessing early learning and childcare

2 July 2024

The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman today announced plans for an additional €14 million in supports for children with a disability under the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM).

AIM was first introduced to ensure that children with a disability could access and meaningfully participate in the State-funded Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme in mainstream settings – through a suite of universal and targeted supports.

Up until now, a key support – additional funding to providers to enable a lower adult-child ratio – was allocated for the duration of the ECCE programme only (i.e. 3 hours per day, 5 days per week and 38 weeks per year).

The additional funding will ensure an increasing number of ECCE-enrolled children can be supported under AIM. It will support an extension of AIM support from September 2024, meaning that children with a disability enrolled in the ECCE programme will now be fully supported to access and participate in early learning and childcare settings beyond the time they spend in that programme – both in term and out of term.

Combined with existing supports through the ECCE programme and Core Funding, providers will be funded for up to a further 15 hours of capitation per week in term and for 30 hours per week out of term to enable a lower adult-child ratio.