Update on COVID-19 Childcare Support scheme

Date published: 01 May 2020

Following the recent joint announcement on emergency measures for childcare, the Department of Health has written to registered childcare providers today.

In early April, Education Minister, Peter Weir and Health Minister, Robin Swann outlined the £12m package of measures which is being developed for emergency childcare provision.

The letter outlines the process for accessing support available to enable a number of registered daycare settings, school age childcare settings and childminders to remain open for vulnerable children and those of key workers. The letter also explains what support is available for settings which remain closed and are unable to reopen helping to support the sustainability of the sector. 

Childcare providers and childminders who are eligible for financial assistance under the childcare provision scheme will receive an application form early next week.

A high number of applications is expected and the aim is to process them as quickly as possible.

Childcare provision will be made available where it is essential to enable keyworkers to go to work or to provide support to children who are vulnerable. Where it is possible to do so, children should be cared for in their own homes.  Schools, pre-school education settings, registered daycare facilities and childminders should only be providing care for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

Notes to editors: 

  1. On 9 April, in a joint statement, the Ministers for Education and Health outlined a package of measures as part of an Emergency Childcare Provision Scheme.  The statement is available here; Joint statement
  2. The Early Years Team within the relevant Health and Social Care Trust must be aware that a setting or individual is providing childcare for keyworker or vulnerable children (as per the definition on the Family Support NI website).
  3. Endorsement by the Early Years Team is a prerequisite to applying for assistance under the open settings element of this scheme. Early Years Teams will take account of the demand for the service in deciding whether they will endorse the re-opening of the provision.
  4. Media queries to the DE Press Office at press.office@education-ni.gov.uk or DoH Press Office by email: pressoffice@health-ni.gov.uk. Out of hours please contact the Duty Press Office on 028 9037 8110.

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