PACEY Cymru has shared work on lobbying work calling for a change in the legislation around childminders accessing Childcare Offer funding for related children who are not resident with them. The story has been taken up by the media in Wales.
Claire Protheroe, Direct Services Manager for PACEY Cymru featured on BBC Wales Live talking about the issue. You can view the full programme on BBC iPlayer.
The programme focused on discussions around the change in guidance from Welsh Government on childminders providing childcare for related children and how Welsh Government have now changed the guidance they previously offered on access to Childcare Offer funding for parents who use a relative who is a registered childminder. This change means that childminders in Wales are now in a similar position to childminders in England where they are unable to provide funded childcare for related children. Results so far from a survey being carried out by PACEY Cymru shows that around 17% of registered childminders in Wales care for a related child who is not resident with them between the ages of 0-3 with over 40% stating this is something they would be looking to do in the future. If can be seen that if action is not taken to change the current position this will have a significant impact on childminding provision across Wales. We know that childcare accessibility, affordability and sustainability are key areas of interest for the Welsh Government.
As Claire said ‘PACEY Cymru understand the issues faced by Welsh Government due to the restrictions that the current legislation places upon them however we strongly believe that a swift change in formal guidance or legislation is required in order to support continuity of care and improved emotional outcomes for children, parental choice and sustainability of childminding settings. We know that colleagues in England face similar challenges and are working closely together on this issue’
Joy Edwards a registered childminder from Caerphilly featured in the programme alongside her daughter. Joy is no longer able to provide funded Childcare Offer places for her two grandchildren due to the change in guidance. Joy also features in an article in the latest edition of PACEY's Childcare Professional magazine. She said 'This guidance does not take into account the well-being of children, including my grandchildren who are cousins and will now be separted and moved from my service in which they are settled. Their parents have to make the choice around whether to access funded childcare elsewhere, if there is any available, or to continue to pay me privately which will impact on them financially'.
BBC have also written an online piece on the issue of changes to childminders funded through the offer.
We are still calling for the support of childminders in gathering evidence to support our work. If you are a registered childminder or in the process of registering as a childminder in Wales we would be grateful if you could complete our short Childminders and Related Children Survey.