Support for childcare during COVID19
Many providers closed temporarily as a result of Government guidance that everyone should stay at home to reduce the spread of the virus. However, some group settings and many childminders remained open to provide care for the children of ‘key workers’ and vulnerable children.
Childcare policy is the responsibility of the Department of Education, however the Department of Health has statutory responsibility for the registration and inspection of childcare providers. Throughout the COVID19 pandemic both Departments have worked diligently to address a myriad of childcare related issues. An expert Childcare Reference Group was convened, membership includes Senior Department officials, the Health and Social Care Board, Trusts, membership bodies and other sectoral stakeholders. Meeting on a weekly basis since early May, this group has offered advice and guidance to policy-makers as they seek to ensure childcare is accessible for those who require it.
There has been a strong focus on childcare in recent media reports, particularly as sectors of the economy have reopened which has created challenges for some in accessing the childcare they need to allow them to work. Work is progressing to ensure the needs of parents, employers and providers are met as restrictions lift. To ensure everyone is aware of developments and where they can go for support please find attached a short briefing on how support for childcare is being addressed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keep up to date, on the Family Support NI website and by reading the briefing attached.
Guidance was published on Monday 29 June for childminders, group settings and parents and are also attached.
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