The Welsh Government today confirmed that from September 2018, a change in policy will be made to allow registered childminders to receive funding for the care of a related child who does not live with them.
The move is to coincide with the Welsh Government’s expansion of its 30 hours early education and childcare pilot to a further seven local authorities from September.
It follows campaigning by the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) for childminders to be able to provide funded places for related children.
PACEY’s chief executive Liz Bayram said, ‘We are delighted the Welsh Government has listened to the arguments for change that PACEY Cymru and our members have presented and have revised their guidance. Childminders will now be able to draw down funding for related children in their care in the same way that they can for other government childcare subsidies, just like their nursery and pre-school colleagues.
‘This change has given a strong message to childminders in Wales that they are valued and trusted professionals. We will now focus our efforts on ensuring the Department for Education makes the same change for childminders in England too. The Welsh Government’s announcement is timely as we are launching a new stage of our campaign in England. This issue has dragged on for far too long; if Wales can do this, so can England.'
The seven additional local authorities that will pilot the 30 hours of early education and childcare for three and four-year-olds from next term are:
- Cardiff-phased introduction
- Newport-phased introduction
- Torfaen-the entire county
- Neath Port Talbot-phased introduction
- Ceredigion-the entire county
- Conwy-phased introduction
- Wrexham-phased introduction
The 30 hours is currently available in Anglesey, Gwynedd, Caerphilly, Flintshire, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Swansea and Blaenau Gwent.
Minister for children, older people and social care, Huw Irranca-Davies, said, ‘Our ground-breaking childcare offer is making a real difference to parents right across Wales, reducing the strain on family income and helping ensure childcare is not a barrier to them taking up employment or increasing their hours.
‘I’m delighted to confirm the offer is being rolled out to seven more local authorities across Wales, as we continue the work to roll out the offer across the entire country by September 2020.’
He added, ‘Childminders are vital to ensuring there is capacity in the childcare sector to deliver the offer and in providing the wrap-around care often needed to allow parents to access both their child’s early education entitlement and additional childcare.'
‘The change to the policy to 'allow registered childminders to receive funding for the care of a child who is also a relative will be made from September 2018 to coincide with the expansion of our offer. The guidance will set out that childminders must be registered with CIW (Care Inspectorate Wales) to be able to access the offer and that the care cannot be provided in the child’s home.’
Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), said, ‘We welcome this expansion enabling more families to access the Government scheme as it continues being piloted across Wales, provided that the funding rate keeps up with all the increases in business costs year on year.
‘It is imperative that parents are aware of the support that is been offered to them in the form of funded childcare hours.
‘NDNA recommends that nurseries register with their local authority as soon as possible in order to keep up to date about the services that they can offer families.’