£250,000 Childminding Initiative Supports Families Back Into Employment

£250,000 Childminding Initiative Supports Families Back Into Employment
SCMA is seeking a bank of childminders to match with the parents and carers of school age children, who are looking to get back into employment in five pilot areas of City of Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Midlothian and North Lanarkshire, with the aim of Access to Childminding (A2C) becoming more widely available across the country.  

The A2C service received £250,000 of funding from the Scottish Government’s Access to Childcare Fund, announced within the School Age Childcare Progress Report earlier this year, and aims to help move more parents and carers into employment by matching them with professional childminders in their local area who can provide flexible childcare, before and after school.     

A2C aims to help increase household income and families will benefit from high-quality, flexible childcare provided locally.  In turn, the model will help childminders to increase their business sustainability by providing access to new families who may have been unaware of how flexible childminding can support their family life.  

SCMA is seeking around 100 childminders across the five pilot areas to take part, who have capacity within their setting to provide before and after school care. 

Anna Mardani, a professional childminder from Kelty in Fife is taking part in A2C, said: “I’m participating in the Access to Childminding initiative because I know that finding affordable, high quality childcare locally can be difficult– especially for families who need flexible before and after school care which fits around their working day.  

“I thought A2C was really great way for me to help parents who are finding childcare a barrier to getting back into work.  I hope it makes a difference to know that childminding through A2C could support them. I’m also really excited to welcome any new families to my setting who may not have previously considered childminding as an option. 

“Other childminders in Fife who might be interested in putting themselves forward should go for it! I found the process of signing up to take part really easy and there wasn’t too much paperwork, which was great.”

Janine Ryan, Head of Childminding Services at SCMA, said: “One of the barriers to parents being able to move into employment is being able to find affordable childcare locally.  We believe A2C will really support that initial step into employment for parents with school age children – and they’ll have peace of mind that their child is receiving professional, high-quality and nurturing childcare, while they take that exciting step back into work.

“A2C is also a fresh, new business opportunity for childminders in these key pilot areas who wish to take part. It provides the potential for them to enhance their service by introducing new families who may not otherwise have considered using a childminder. We would really love to hear from childminders in these areas who would like to give it a try.”

Funded placements are offered for up to 12 weeks for before and after school care during term-time, as well as during holiday periods. This initial time period provides a realistic window for children, families and childminders to develop relationships and helps build a foundation for long-term support.  

The 12-week period also offers a bridge whilst parents settle into their new job, receive a salary and become eligible to apply for childcare benefits, where appropriate. It is also anticipated that the parent could continue the placement with the childminder once the funding ends, as they will be able to make the payments themselves once they are receiving a regular income.  

Janine continued: “92% of childminders achieve ‘good’ or above across all quality ratings at inspection by the Care Inspectorate. Evidence has shown childminding can enhance a child’s learning, confidence and their social development.

"There are many parents who may be new to this form of childcare and may not be familiar with its benefits - but the A2C project provides a unique opportunity to sample how using a local childminder could really help to support them to take that step back into work, whilst providing a safe, reliable, home-from-home childcare environment for their children.” 

Childminders, parents and referral agencies who are interested in finding out more about the project should visit our Access to Childminding webpage or email a2c@childminding.org.

Recent Media Coverage
Local coverage of A2C has been in the news recently, following a targeted local media campaign from SCMA to generate more awareness of the service, and to recruit more childminders for A2C. 

Daily Record
NEN (North Edinburgh News)
Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser
Dunfermline Press
Central Fife Times and Advertiser

Childminders in and around Fife may also have heard Janine Ryan, Head of Childminding Services, who was interviewed by the news team at Kingdom FM yesterday.