Share your experience of childcare in Northern Ireland!

Whatever your thoughts, we want to hear them!

How do you feel about the provision of childcare in Northern Ireland and the support that is available? Are you concerned, on the fence or completely happy? Whatever your thoughts, we want to hear them as we launch our ninth Annual Childcare Cost Survey for parents and childcare providers.

The Annual Childcare Cost Survey is an important indicator of how parents and childcare providers feel about childcare and its infrastructure in Northern Ireland.  Last year’s results showed the average weekly cost of a full-time childcare place was £168, which accounted for almost 40 per cent of average household income.  Yet at the same time, while 59 per cent of childcare providers reported they were just breaking even or making a loss, the majority (77 per cent) had chosen not to increase their fees.

Aoife Hamilton, Policy & Information Manager at Employers For Childcare predicts what this year’s survey findings may uncover: “We anticipate this year’s Annual Childcare Cost Survey will emphasise how essential the childcare infrastructure is to parents in Northern Ireland, whilst highlighting how the ongoing strain of rising living costs such as food, clothing and heating, coupled with the cost of childcare, can impact negatively on families. This year, we are also interested in finding out more about the experiences of families who rely on grandparents to provide childcare”.

“What we expect to remain the same is the positive value parents place on the quality of childcare within the sector and in turn, the positive experience providers report of the relationships they develop with the children in their care, and their parents. We encourage parents and childcare providers from across Northern Ireland to take part in the online survey. Not only will parents and providers have the opportunity to have their voices heard, but this research will inform our lobbying work and give us a platform to secure much needed strategic investment in Northern Ireland’s childcare sector to ensure it meets the needs of families and childcare providers.”

The survey for parents can be completed here and the survey for providers can be completed here.  Parents who enter are in with a chance of winning an overnight stay for two at the Galgorm Resort & Spa whilst childcare providers have the opportunity of winning a £100 Boots voucher.  Winners will be chosen after the surveys close in July 2018.  The survey results will be published later in the year.

For more information about the Annual Childcare Cost Survey or to find out what financial help you may be entitled to towards the cost of childcare, call our Family Benefits Advice Service on 028 9267 8200 for free, impartial and confidential advice.