Initially established as a one year grant in 2011, the Early Years Early Action Fund, delivered by Inspiring Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Government, has now been extended until March 2013, providing more opportunities for children and families to benefit.
Around 6,000 children have benefited from the Early Years Early Action Fund so far.
The Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) was one of 24 charities to receive a share of the £6.8m funding last year, which it used to set up more Community Childminding Services in Stirling and Fife.
Community Childminding Services support families in crisis or provide early intervention as a preventative measure. The services can be accessed by parents referred by social or health workers.
The new funding will allow the SCMA to expand its Community Childminding Services across Stirling and Fife, in a bid to reach more vulnerable families living in rural areas.
Annie Condie, head of childminding services at SCMA, said, ‘At SCMA, we have identified through previous experience that by providing training and local support to quality childminders, who in turn offer short-term placements to families in need, the return on investment and the positive impact on families using the service was outstanding. The service avoids families having to be referred for formal social work assessments to access help for needs that may be relatively low-level and short-term.
‘A thank you goes to all SCMA staff members involved whose sterling work has ensured the success of these vitals services.’
As of March next year, a new £20m early intervention Government fund will replace the Early Years Early Action Fund and Unified Voluntary Sector Fund, a grant for organisations working with children, young people and families.
Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell, said, ‘The voluntary sector has a significant role to play in realising our ambition to make Scotland the best place for children and young people to grow up. The new £20 million fund will be designed to support that ongoing effort.
‘The Scottish Government has invested heavily in children and families. We know that for every £1 spent in the early years another £9 can be saved in later years through prevention.
‘Despite the Westminster cuts to Scotland’s budget, we have prioritised the early years for investment and accept the expert group’s advice to ensure future funding is well targeted and has the greatest impact on the lives of our children, young people, their families and of course their wider communities.’