A registered childminder will also be required to update mandatory training every 3 years.
The Northern Ireland Childminding Association (NICMA) helped children to get creative as it hosted a festive “Bake Off’” recently in Little Hands SureStart Children's Centre, Rosemount Primary School, Helen Street, Derry.
This event was part of a wider campaign to reinforce the importance of parents using a registered childminder to care for their children in the Western Trust area.
For the last 35 years NICMA has been delivering support services for registered childminders who provide 16,284 day care places for children across Northern Ireland.
Patricia Lewsley-Mooney, NICMA chief executive, discusses the integrated communications campaign, which is being funded by the Western Childcare Partnership and supported by Family Support NI.
“The Festive Bake Off was just one part of a wider programme of activity which was organised to encourage parents to consider the many benefits that come with using a registered childminder to care for their children.
“At the event, children baked healthy treats and did some Christmas crafting. These are the type of creative activities registered childminders do on a daily basis with the children in their care.
“It is important that parents think about their choice of childminder. We know that parents ultimately want to keep their children safe, and some parents will feel that they have a choice to make between using a registered childminder or an unregistered childminder. However, quite simply there is no choice.
“The law is very clear, anybody looking after children for more than two hours a day, for reward, must register with the Health and Social Care Trust.
“Registered childminders will have completed Access NI Checks on all individuals in the household over the age of 10 and will have Public Liability insurance cover.
“A registered childminder will also be required to update mandatory training every three years. They will be registered by the Trust and inspected on an annual basis by early years social workers. These checks help to keep your child safe, so you really should carefully consider who is looking after your child. In addition, NICMA provide advice and work in partnership with other organisations such as Family Support NI and the Western Childcare Partnership (WCP), who detail local services and information to support you and your family.”
Patricia adds: “We hope that this campaign will also prompt unregistered childminders to become registered. By completing the relevant mandatory training, Access NI checks and getting public liability insurance in place, they will be helping to not only keep the children in their care safe, but to protect themselves.”
During 2018-2019, the Childcare Partnerships commissioned several regional organisations to undertake a review of the issues impacting on their specific areas of the childcare sector. NICMA reviewed the Childminding sector and identified the need to increase awareness amongst parents of the benefits of engaging a registered childminder to look after their children. The Western Childcare Partnership was approached for funding to implement a campaign within the Western Trust area for this purpose, which they were happy to support.
Over a four year period the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) area has seen a decline in registered childminders from 580 in March 2015 to 504 in March last year.
This represents a decrease of 12% and a reduction of 456 day care places in the WHSCT area.
For further information please contact Grainne Scullion, childminding development and engagement officer for NICMA in the Western Trust, on 0751 747 2271 or email grainne.scullion@ nicma.org.
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