Becoming a Childminder
Please note that this refers to Childminding within Northern Ireland only.
For further information on becoming a childminder contact NICMA directly on
Childminding as a Career
Are you interested in caring for children?
Can you provide a safe, stimulating environment within your home?
- An opportunity to earn a living by caring for other peoples children in your own home.
- The chance to become a self employed daycare provider.
- The opportunity to stay at home and care for your own children as well as caring for others.
- The opportunity to share in the care and development of children from birth to 12 years of age.
- Eligibility to benefit from the Childcare Tax Credit.
What Is A Registered Childminder?
Please note that this site deals with Childminding specific to legislation governing Northern Ireland
A Registered Childminder is:
"a person who looks after 1 or more children under the age of 12, for more than 2 hours per day, on domestic premises, for reward" - (Children (NI) Order 1995)
Registered Childminders are self employed daycare providers who work in their own home to provide care and education for other peoples children within a family setting. Unlike nannies and au pairs, they are inspected and registered by Social Services on a regular basis.
- Registered Childminders may be registered to care for up to 6 children between the ages of 0 - 12 years of age (including their own children)
- Only Registered childminding is eligible for the Childcare Element of the Working Tax Credit for working parents
What does registration mean?
A Childminder MUST BY LAW register with the local Health and Social Services Trust. The purpose of registration is:
- To protect children
- To provide reassurance to parents using childcare
- To ensure that childminding services meet acceptable standards
To achieve registration a Childminder is required to comply with standards of safety, equipment, numbers of children etc. The home environment is checked to ensure that it meets the standards required and that it is suitable to care for children. References and health checks are required as are criminal record checks on all individuals in the household over the age of 10. The Children (NI) Order 1995 states that registration should be completed within three months of receipt of the completed application form. Following on from registration, childminders are inspected annually by the Health and Social Services Trust.
NICMA recognise that childminding is a professional day care service and as such, the registration process is the first step towards the provision of quality childminding.
To enquire about becoming registered as a childminder please contact your local Health and Social Care Trust Click Here for contact details.
Why do I need Insurance?
Public liability insurance cover is a vital requirement of running any self employed business, especially in view of the isolation of the job and therefore the potential vulnerability of the Childminder. Childminders are required to obtain appropriate insurance cover as a requirement of registration.
NICMA – the Childminding Association offers a comprehensive membership package to registered Childminders which provides members with public and legal liability insurance cover. For further information contact NICMA – the Childminding Association, 16-18 Mill Street, Newtownards, BT23 4LU, or telephone 02891 811015.
Benefits Of Registered Childminding.
Childminding is a unique daycare service for children aged 0 –14 years in that it supports the effective learning of children in their early years by providing opportunities for individual attention as well as the rich learning environment of the home and local community.
The benefits of quality childminding include: -
- Individual Needs Met - Children benefit from the individual attention they receive in a childminders home and the interaction with other children of all ages. Babies, particularly, benefit from the individual, family type care provided by childminders. Childminders and children have access to small and large group activities via Drop In centres, Childminding groups, outings and High/Scope programmes.
- Low adult – child ratio – childminders are registered to care for up to 3 children of pre-school age and 3 children of school age. This low adult – child ratio allows for children’s individual needs to be met.
- Flexibility – Children can be cared for on a part or full time basis from the age of a few months, throughout their pre-school, nursery and school years. Childminding can be provided during out-of-school and holiday periods. Parents varying shift patterns can be accommodated ensuring that there is consistency with the same carer.
- Quality - A stimulating environment within a home based setting, which meets children’s individual needs. Registration of childminding services is the starting point for quality provision with many childminders accessing NICMA’s Quality Assurance initiatives.
- Sharing - Families with one child can benefit from using the services of a childminder. Their child is cared for in an environment with children from a range of ages and backgrounds. It can provide an extended family experience for families with one child.
- Part of the community - Children are cared for in their own community, enabling them to build and develop their own local connections and providing opportunities for close links with community based services and with local schools.
- Partnership with Parents - Parents and children develop a trusting relationship with the Childminder ensuring that the care provided is appropriate and adaptable to their changing individual needs. Childminders can offer support to parents to enable them to balance work and family responsibilities.
- Real life learning – Children looked after by a childminder enjoy real life experiences like cooking, shopping, gardening, mealtimes etc. From these everyday activities the children can learn basic science, maths, social skills and language skills.
- Support and back up - Childminders can provide support to parents by offering homework supervision, back up and emergency care where required
- Equality of Opportunity – Childminding offers all children equality of access to opportunities to learn and develop, taking account of the child’s age and stage of development, gender, ethnicity, special educational needs and any disability. It also offers children with special needs or disabilities the opportunity to be cared for in an inclusive setting with children of differing abilities, ages and backgounds. The children are able to attend the same childcare setting as their siblings.
- Family friendly – Childminding offers parents the opportunity for all of their children to be cared for at the one setting regardless of age, stage and ability. Childminded children are not segregated because of age or stage. This encourages siblings to bond and so encourages family relationships to fully develop.
Minimum Standards for Childminding and Day Care for Children Under Age 12
The Minimum Standards for Childminding & Day Care for Children Under Age 12 were launched in July 2012.
A copy of the Standards & the Implementation Guidance can be found at the following link: http://www.hscboard.hscni.net/publications/Policies/031%20DHSSPS%20Early%20Years%20Standards%20-%20July%202012%20-%20PDF%20879KB.pdf
These standards will ensure quality child care for all children and parents who use registered services. For the first time, they mean that all parents and children who use registered child care can expect to receive a consistent minimum standard of care, no matter where they are in Northern Ireland.
The standards will be used by Health and Social Care Trusts to register and inspect childminding and day care services for children under age 12.
The Standards state that all registered childminders must attend training in 3 core areas:
- Health & Safety
- Child Protection/Safeguarding
- First Aid
If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a Registered Childminder, contact NICMA for a free information pack: "How to become a Registered Childminder" or download NICMA's booklet 'Childminding as a Profession - a guide to registration'.
Please note that this information pack applies to legislative requirements specific to Northern Ireland
The Business Side of Childminding
Please note that a new tax year began on 6th April 2015 - Further information on what has changed (including personal allowances) can be found in NICMAs Getting Off to a Good Start Booklet, available for members free of charge in the members area.
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.
Webinars highlighted this month are:
- Friday 02 October @ 13:00pm - Simpler Income Tax for the self-employed
- Tuesday 06 October @ 12:00pm - Business expenses for the self-employed
- Monday 12 October @ 11:00am - Capital Allowances for the self-employed
- Thursday 15 October 2015 @ 19.30 -Childminders webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5542773724703584002
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The Executive's draft Childcare Strategy
Click here to view the draft Strategy, consultation questionnaire and associated documents.