Almost one in three child minders are caring for children with a
range of additional needs, often with little formal support or
training, new research by the National Child Minding Association
Survey findings published this week to mark national child
minding week show that half of those offering extra support are
caring for a child with a speech, language or communication need.
Although a similar proportion have undergone specialist training,
many still rely on children’s parents and the internet to
find appropriate information and advice.
The NCMA wants local authorities to ensure funding is available
for Children Come First child minding networks to be linked to all
children’s centres. These networks are quality assured
groupings of registered child minders who work together with
support and guidance from a network co-ordinator.
The organisation also wants the government to ensure
children’s trusts and other professionals understand the role
child minders play in caring for disabled children, and greater
recognition in the children’s workforce development plans of
registered child minders’ potential.
NCMA chief executive Gill Haynes said: “Children’s
trusts will soon be commissioning services to deliver this [new
children’s] agenda. So our message is: please look at the
resource that already exists and build on it – a talented and
dedicated child minding workforce ready to rise to the
The important role child minders can play in joining up services
and delivering local flexible child care for parents is also
stressed in the Department for Education and Skills draft code of
practice on the provision of free nursery education places for 3-
and 4-year-olds, also published this week.
The consultation – which considers the practicalities of
moving towards the new minimum entitlement from 2010 of 15
hours’ free child care per week for 38 weeks a year for all
3- and 4-year olds – calls on children’s trusts to
monitor the supply of child minders operating in their area and
offer incentives to prospective child minders where necessary.
It also backs the development of child minder networks, warning
that only child minders who belong to an accredited network will be
eligible for funding to deliver the free early years education
Consultation from www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations
NCMA survey from www.ncma.org.uk