AIM Rules for 2020/2021 published
The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) Rules for the 2020/2021 ECCE programme year are now available in the key documents section of our website: https://aim.gov.ie/key-documents/
The AIM Rules are a useful resource for both parents and for the early learning and care sector. If you are a pre-school provider we encourage you to familiarise yourself with the rules and also bring them to the attention of your staff. As indicated in the ECCE contract, pre-school services that avail of AIM are obliged to comply with the AIM Rules. When necessary the rules will be updated occasionally to reflect developments in the sector. Providers will be notified of any such updates.
The AIM Rules 2020/2021 document includes the following updates:
2.1 Registration on ECCE programme or other eligible DCYA programme
AIM is designed to ensure that children with disabilities can participate in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme. As such, in order for a child to access AIM supports, s/he must be registered on the ECCE programme in an ECCE-registered preschool service or be eligible to avail of the ECCE programme and be registered and approved on the Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP) scheme or the Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) Scheme. In either case, the maximum number of hours of support available in the case of AIM Level 7 additional assistance is 15 per week, in line with full time attendance in ECCE.
Both CCSP and TEC were replaced by the National Childcare Scheme in 2019 and no new registrations for these schemes are being accepted. However, the CCSP and TEC schemes programmes remain for those parents or providers who benefited from CCSP or TEC prior to the introduction of the NCS and who choose not to transfer to the NCS (“savers”), to ensure that no one loses out in the transition to the NCS.
Under Budget 2020, the “saver” arrangement for this cohort was extended beyond August 2020. Persons who were registered on the CCSP or TEC schemes before they closed, and who retain their eligibility, will be able to remain on them indefinitely, for example until they no longer require early learning and care or school age childcare services.
The NCS is designed to ‘wrap around’ ECCE and there is therefore no rule providing for AIM during hours subsidised by NCS.
Where a child avails of the National Childcare Scheme as well as ECCE, it is permitted for her or him to avail of AIM during the hours she or he takes part in ECCE, up to a maximum of fifteen hours per week.
3. Availing of other State supports
When applying for targeted AIM supports; parents and service providers are requested to inform Better Start of any other supports already in place for the child. This may include supports provided by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) (e.g. Home Tuition Grant Scheme), or supports or grants provided by the HSE (either directly or by voluntary agencies on behalf of the HSE).
In seeking AIM level 7 funding for the purpose of additional assistance in the pre-school room, approved service providers are confirming that they will not use funding from the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) to support the wages of any employee whose wages are being supported through AIM level 7 funding.
3.3 Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme
The wages of an employee may be supported through either the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) or AIM Level 7 funding, but not both. Where EWSS funding is subsidising the wages of an employee, AIM level 7 funding may not be sought in relation to that employee. In accepting AIM level 7 funding, the service confirms that they will not use funding from the EWSS to support the wages of any employee whose wages are being supported through AIM level 7 funding.
3.3.1 Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme compliance
Where a service is in receipt of AIM Level 7 additional assistance funding, the service consents to making available payroll statements for the purpose of compliance checks to confirm that funding from the EWSS is not being used to support the wages of an employee whose wages are being supported through AIM Level 7 funding. Where a service is found to be non-compliant with rule 3.3, AIM funding will be suspended until such time as
- a) Proof of corrections to EWSS funding in relation to the relevant employee is provided; and
- b) AIM funding for the period of double funding is reconciled.
9.15 Payment of AIM Level 7 additional capitation
In order to receive AIM Level 7 additional capitation, the provider must:
- have an ECCE-registered child, or an ECCE-eligible child approved on CCSP or TEC, whose application for AIM Level 7 additional capitation has been approved;
- have met any pre-payment conditions outlined in the approval notification; and
- be tax compliant with a valid tax clearance number.
In the case of additional assistance, in order to receive the AIM Level 7 additional capitation the provider must have appointed or recruited a staff member to provide additional assistance in the preschool room. If there is a delay in appointment or recruitment of the staff member, it is the responsibility of the provider to inform Pobal.
Payments in relation to AIM Level 7 additional capitation will be made in line with the payments schedule available on the PIP Portal.
The service shall make their payroll statements available to facilitate compliance checks. This is for verification that is not being used to support the wages of any employee whose wages are being supported through AIM Level 7 funding. Where records of payroll documentation are required, photographic records of redacted payroll statements will be made.