The Scottish Government has today (5 April 2018) published a consultation paper on Welfare Foods and how best to meet the needs of children and families in Scotland.
Welfare Foods includes the current UK Healthy Start Vouchers and the Nursery Milk Scheme, and this consultation is looking to engage with all professionals that work with children – including childminders.
As part of the consultation, a new approach to delivering a universal milk scheme as part of the funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) expansion is planned to launch from 2020. Alongside this, a proposal has been made for delivering milk for children out with funded ELC provision and considering the introduction of a healthy snack to further improve on free nursery milk.
Maggie Simpson, Chief Executive of SCMA, said: “It has been interesting to have been involved in these discussions so far and SCMA will be pleased to support this proposal to retain free milk for all services providing care to children under five, including childminders. In addition, extending entitlement to include a healthy snack is something we are very much in favour of, and is a welcomed recommendation.
“There is no doubt that childminders are committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of the children in their care, encouraging healthy eating and keeping active. Childminders already follow the guidance set out by NHS Health Scotland using the ‘Setting the Table’ resource, which fits neatly with this proposal."
SCMA sits on the Short Term Working Group on Nursery Milk, we will also be responding formally to the consultation, providing insight from a childminding in Scotland perspective.
This Welfare Foods consultation is part of a wide range of measures that aim to give children the best start in life and improve health outcomes and tackle inequality.
We know that for many families maintaining a healthy diet can be a daily challenge; however, there is strong evidence that a healthy diet in children’s early years has a positive impact on their longer-term outcomes.
Maggie added: “This is an ideal opportunity for childminders and other childcare providers to support healthy food choices, whilst benefiting from the proposed subsides to milk, fruit and vegetables.”
Welfare Foods Consultation Paper
The consultation will close 28 June 2018.