Sunday, October 26, 2014
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Help is at hand from the NICMA - the Childminding Association who have over 25 years experience of providing information and advice on all aspects of quality childminding services.

In order to provide children with quality childcare and learning, the NICMA Quality Childminding Charter requires childminders who are members to work towards 10 quality standards:

Click here to view Quality Childminding Charter  
WHY CHOOSE CHILDMINDING FOR YOUR CHILD? There are many benefits to choosing childminding as your preferred daycare option.

Benefits to your children
•Children benefit from the value of the home as a place in which a child can feel comfortable and secure
•The family environment with familiar surroundings
•The one-to-one care and special relationship from the same adult on a daily basis
•The individual attention provided by the Childminder is a positive factor in supporting children's learning
•The love and affection provided by the Childminder and their family
Benefits to parents
•Flexibility and choice in hours of care to meet parents individual and changing needs
•Children are cared for within their own community, thereby avoiding stressful commuter journeys
•Parents and children develop a trusting relationship with the Childminder ensuring that the care provided is appropriate to the needs of their child
•Childminders can provide continuity of care from the age of a few months right up to school age and beyond
•Childminders can facilitate attendance at local after school activities
•Registered childcare which is eligible for the Childcare element of the Working Tax Credit
Quality Childminding Standards
The quality assurance of childminding provision for children under 12 years begins with registration and inspection to minimum standards as set out in the Children (NI) Order 1995 and associated Regulations and Guidance. Childminders are inspected annually by the Health and Social Services Trust and for those childminders who are NICMA members, the NICMA Quality Childminding Charter recommends childminders to work towards specific quality standards.

Childminding Information and Vacancy Service
We offer a FREE information helpline to assist parents in choosing the most suitable Childminder and keeping that relationship going. Our CHILDMINDING INFORMATION AND VACANCY helpline on 0871 200 2063 is open Mon - Thu 9.30am - 4.00pm and Fri 9.30am - 1.00pm and offers information on all aspects of childminding including registration, fees, contracts etc. It will also provide you with access to childminding vacancies to meet your specific needs and will give detail on the individual childminders e.g. has the Childminder had any training? Will they be able to collect my child from school? Do they provide an after school service?

NICMA’s Childminding Information, Advice & Vacancy Service is a key element of the services provided for parents, childminders, employers and other stakeholders. We offer access to:

•A database of detailed Childminder vacancies to match to parents specific childcare needs;
•A telephone Information & Advice service to answer all queries related to childminding services;
•A ‘Childminding Business Pack’, updated annually, to assist childminders in offering a professional childcare service;
•A range of publications and resources to enhance childcare practice.
To use the service and access information of details of childminding vacancies please contact the Information Officer on 0871 200 2063.


Childminding Contracts

•NICMA recommend that both childminder and parent read the Guidance Notes in the Membership Pack before completing contract forms
•Terms and conditions should be negotiated, agreed and considered before contracts are signed by either party
•Childminder and parent should have a copy of the agreed contract for their own reference
•The contract will clearly state to the parent, the childminding fees, agreed dates for payment, when and how to pay and exactly what the payment includes
•The contract will clearly state to the childminder the childminding fees to be paid, agreed dates for payment and exactly what the payment includes
•Should the terms and conditions of the contract change, then a new contract should be negotiated, considered, agreed and signed by both parties
•A contract signed by both parties is a legally binding document
•A signed contract is open ended unless an end date is stated and thus will remain valid until terminated in accordance with agreed terms or superceded with newly agreed and signed one.

What to do if a childminding arrangement breaks down?

•Read through the contract to ensure that you know what was negotiated, agreed and signed up to
•Keep calm, be professional and arrange to meet the childminder to discuss the disagreement by talking it through when no children are present
•If a new arrangement to those already agreed is required and the childminder is unable to facilitate this new request then it may be best to terminate the contract under the agreed notice period

Terminating contracts

•The period of notice applies to either party in the contract – both childminders and parents
•The childminder should provide the childminding service during the notice period or they may be asked to pay the parent the amount of fees due in lieu of notice
•The parent should allow the childminder to care for the child during the notice period or they may be liable to pay money to the childminder in lieu of lost fees
•It should be remembered that when a contract is terminated the terms and conditions end
•Any agreed paid time off must have been taken before the contract is terminated
•Notice of termination of the contract by either party must be given in writing and should not include any holiday period. The notice period should be given on the first working day after any agreed holiday period

Minimum Standards


The ‘Minimum Standards’ were launched in July 12 as a means of providing a consistent level of quality for all childminding and daycare services and to ensure a consistent regional approach to registration and inspection.

There are 2 documents relating to Minimum Standards:

  1. Childminding and DayCare for Children under age 12 – Minimum Standards – July 12
  2. Childminding and DayCare for Children under age 12 – Minimum Standards – IMPLEMENTATION GUIDANCE – July 13



The Business Side of Childminding

Got a lot of questions about tax, National Insurance, business records and expenses?

This online tutorial from HMRC will build your confidence by guiding you through everything you need to know to get started. There are useful tips from others who have been where you are now and practical case studies to help you along the way.


New Research Launched

Childminding in Northern Ireland:  an exploration of practice, quality and the impact of vertical placements on children.

This exciting study is as a result of the first time any research has been carried out on childminding in Northern Ireland.

Addressing the quality of care, the benefits and difficulties of vertical grouping (i.e children of different ages being cared for together).

The study also provides a profile of childminders in terms of age, gender, qualifications held and access to training and support.

It's two overall aims are :

  • To ascertain the impacts on children of vertical grouping.
  • To explore issues of practice and quality within childminding in Northern Ireland.

To read the full report Click Here

Childminding Policies

All registered Childminders must have a range of Policies in place to ensure good practice.

NICMAs policies are available to download FREE OF CHARGE from the Members section of our website as part of NICMA membership OR purchase a full pack of 29 Policies, a template ‘Statement of Purpose’ and NEW Risk Assessment & Fire Log Booklet for non members costing £25 DEDUCTABLE from your first year’s Membership Fee.

Click here for information on which policies have been updated.

Click here for information on Employers Liability Insurance.

Click here for an order form. (pdf)

Login to Members Area


News Flash

Book Your Training Online!

We are now offering the facility to book onto NICMA courses via an online form.

As this is a pilot only Promoting Positive Behaviour in The Early Years is available.



Online Applications!

Is your membership due for renewal?

Are you interested in joining NICMA?

We are now offering online membership applications and accepting payment via paypal!

To Apply or find out more Visit the Joining NICMA area of the website.

Payments by PayPal

Minimum Standards Training

Training on Childminding and Day Care for Children Under Age 12 - The Minimum Standards and Childminding Inspection Process

NICMA & the Trust Early Years teams are currently delivering training sessions as above. You will receive a letter inviting you

to attend according to your inspection date.

It is essential that you attend on the date offered so that you can understand what the standards mean to you as a

childminder as well as understanding the inspection process.

Read on....

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