Government Child and Adolescent Welfare

Maternity leave

Maternity Benefit is a payment made to women who are on maternity leave from work and covered by social insurance (PRSI). The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 introduced Paternity Benefit, together with statutory paternity leave of 2 weeks. The combined package of paternity leave and Paternity Benefit can start at any time within the first 6 months following birth or adoption of a child.

Duration of leave

Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 weeks (156 days). Maternity Benefit is a 6-day week payment which covers Monday to Saturday. Sunday is not treated as a day of entitlement to Maternity Benefit.

Free pregnancy treatment

Irish public hospitals offer free maternity care for all Irish residents. The free services include prenatal care, midwifery during the birth, and check up’s during for mothers and babies.


Dental services

The Irish government provides free dental services to children less than 6 years of age, primary school students and medical card holders. The free service offers an examination and clean. If braces, surgery or extraction is required the consultation and treatment is free.



Children and young people are entitled to certain immunisation services free of charge. These are provided in GP surgeries, in hospitals, in health clinics or in school (depending on the circumstances).

Immunisation is a safe and effective way to help the body prevent or fight off certain diseases. Immunisation is provided through vaccinations. Under the Childhood Immunisation Programme all vaccines and their administration are provided free of charge for all children.

Parents must consent to vaccinations for children and young people up to the age of 16. Vaccination is not compulsory, but is strongly advised by the Department of Health.


Child allowance

Child Benefit is a monthly payment to the parents or guardians of children under 16 years of age. It is paid for children under 18 years of age if they are in full-time education, full-time training or have a disability and cannot support themselves. Child Benefit is not paid for any child dependant aged 18 or older, even if they stay in education or training.

The Irish government provides a subsidy of at least €140 per child for children under the age of 16 or EU citizens aged 18.

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