Employers For Childcare provides advice on the new Approved Home Childcarer scheme

The Northern Ireland Health and Education Ministers have announced further details of a scheme to enable childcare workers who already provide childcare to children in daycare and school age childcare facilities to be matched to parents and their children, to provide this care in the children’s own homes. This scheme is only available to vulnerable children and the children of key workers across Northern Ireland. The definition of a key worker for the purposes of the scheme (which is narrower than the definition used for school settings) is available here.

Under this scheme, childcare providers have been asked to continue to act as the employer for the Approved Home Childcarers, who will provide the care in the children’s own homes, rather than in the usual settings. Key worker parents will continue to pay their usual fees to their provider, therefore not incurring any additional costs.

Parents may decide to use an Approved Home Childcarer to meet the needs of two separate families in an agreed home, which is permitted under the scheme. This will be a private arrangement between the parents and the daycare setting but no more than six children should be cared for at any one time, in order to ensure safe, good quality care.

Support for childcare providers

In order to support childcare providers in facilitating their staff to become Approved Home Childcarers, staff who provide this service will receive 1.5 times their normal salary while employers who agree to continue to employ Approved Home Childcarers and manage the employment arrangements will receive a management fee of 10% of each Approved Home Childcarer’s salary. More information on the financial support available to childcare providers at this time is available here.  We anticipate that further information will be made available soon, so continue to check this page regularly.

Our role providing advice and guidance

We are delighted that our Family Benefits Advice Service has been engaged by the Departments to provide advice and guidance on the Approved Home Childcarer Scheme. Our team of trained Family Benefits Advisors can advise on a wide range of issues relating to the scheme, including queries from parents about how to access support, Approved Home Childcarers seeking advice on its implementation, and childcare providers with queries around insurance, employment terms and conditions and the matching of staff with families.

To contact the Family Benefits Advice Service in relation to the Approved Home Childcarer scheme, or for any other queries relating to childcare or financial support, call 028 9267 8200 or email hello@employersforchildcare.org