Cash boost not enough childminders warn

Childminding

The way childminding is being funded is of deep concern 

10th September 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A group supporting childminding says a £330,000 cash injection by the Scottish Government isn’t enough.

The Scottish Government made available an additional £330,000 to the Childminding Workforce Support Fund to provide small grants for childminders experiencing financial hardship.

However the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) has warned that this will be insufficient to meet the level of need and believes the financial support for childminding remains “significantly out of step” with other providers funded through the Scottish Government’s Transitional Support Fund. 

Graeme McAlister, its chief executive, said the charity is “deeply concerned at the shortfall in funding.”

“This should be of concern to all, as childminders continue to play a crucial role in helping parents and carers get back to work and in supporting wider economic recovery from COVID-19 in Scotland. 

“This also reduces parental choice for high quality, flexible childcare throughout local communities - and children can find such breaks in the continuity of care to be unsettling.  SCMA’s survey data has also shown that it may take many months for many childminders to recover their normal business models, that they are experiencing financial pressures as a result of this and require some financial support to assist their business sustainability.”

SCMA has also advised the Scottish Government of its deep concerns at the inequalities between childminding and other childcare providers in Scotland which have emerged in recent years and which, as a result of COVID-19, are getting wider and deeper. 

These inequalities require intervention and further financial support, to maintain and invest in the future of childminding.

The funding announcement from the Scottish Government also came with the commitment to develop an Action Plan for Childminding.  This commitment has also been welcomed by SCMA as it recognises that childminding faces distinct challenges and needs. 

It is essential, however, that the Action Plan includes a number of new, additional and supportive measures to provide the affirmative action which is required to restore confidence from the childminding sector, the charity warned.  

McAlister continued: “The Childminding Workforce Support Fund is not a ‘cure all’ and we know that these small grants will only offer modest financial support to those childminders experiencing extreme financial difficulties. Nonetheless, SCMA is proud that our intervention has helped to established this funding stream. Childminders should be assured that we will continue to advocate for more financial support for childminding and that we are committed to ensuring that professional childminding is valued, gains the same level of recognition as other forms of childcare and is treated equally.”