Education Minister Michelle McIlveen announces extension of Childcare Temporary Closure Fund until March 2022
Education Minister Michelle McIlveen, MLA has made a welcome announcement extending the Covid-19 Childcare Temporary Closures Fund to cover the period 1 January to 31 March 2022.
This Fund is intended to provide a financial contribution to childcare providers who have temporarily closed either due to a Covid-19 positive case which has impacted on provision, or because they are unable to operate due to inadequate staff to child ratios. It will enable providers to suspend or return parental fees during the period of temporary closure.
Launching the funding, the Minister recognised that the childcare sector continues to face challenges as a result of the pandemic, and thanked providers for their ongoing commitment to providing these vital services.
The Minister also advised that scoping work is underway to assess the need for further sustainability funding for the sector.
Given the deep challenges facing childcare providers at this time we are also calling for the urgent extension of the Childcare Sustainability Fund to ensure the early education and childcare sector receives the support it needs to continue to function as a critical part of our economic and social infrastructure.
The Minister’s full announcement is available here.
What is the Covid-19 Childcare Temporary Closure Fund?
This fund is designed to support providers who have to close temporarily – either fully or, in the case of a group setting, a full room – as a direct result of a Covid-19 positive within their setting or being unable to comply with staff to child ratios due to staff being required to self-isolate as per Public Health Agency guidance.
The scheme is being administered by Early Years – the organisation for young children, on behalf of the Department of Education.
Who is eligible?
Full eligibility details and application requirements are available at: https://www.early-years.org/crsfcovidclosures-phase-6
The Covid-19 Childcare Temporary Closure Fund is open to registered childcare providers including childminders, daycare providers, school age childcare settings (SAC), crèches and playgroups who are operational during the period 1 January to 31 March 2022 inclusive.
An important condition of funding will be that parents have either not been charged, or have had their fees refunded, during the temporary suspension of services.
We would encourage all childcare providers to review the guidance on the Early Years website which sets out:
- Requirements for funding
- Evidence that must be provided
- Amount of funding that will be allocated to providers, based on the type and/or size of provision.
Due to changes in the rules around self-isolation across this period, it is important that providers review the requirements for funding, and the evidence that will be required, particularly closely.
How can childcare providers apply?
If you have informed your Trust of a closure, you will receive a link to apply online. Emails will be issued by Family Support NI. The fund will open for applications on Monday 31 January 2022. If you do not receive a link please email: email@example.com
Each application received will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and all applications must be submitted by Friday 15 April 2022 at 4pm.
Any queries relating to this Fund should be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org