UK childminders are having to ask for a top up from parents to meet the costs that local government funding is failing provide.
A recent national survey from Childminding UK investigated the level of financial support which childminders receive and discovered that government funding is barely covering the costs of services, highlighting a serious cause for concern for the continuing existence of childminders.
Over 500 childminders from 53 different local authorities gave feedback regarding funding in their area.
More than 80% of the responses said the funding would not cover their costs. Furthermore, nearly half found their payments to be late, or worse, incorrect. 42% of those who completed the survey stated that their funding rate had been reduced this year and nearly three quarters disclosed that the funded rate they are receiving is lower than the hourly rate they are charging - some by as much as £2 an hour.
Childminding UK is an association established by and for practicing childminders offering professional support for those in the field, and our Executive Director, Elaine Pitteway, believes there is still work to be done on the financial aspects. “In terms of funding, this definitely needs improving. We have found from so many childminders that the funding rates are just far too low and are not sustainable” she says.
The survey show that childminders are also struggling to contact the government early years funding team and are being left without solutions. Over 50% found that the online system to be far too complicated, with 30% finding that they were in a constant battle to speak to a team member either by phone or email.
Elaine considers that a childminder’s priority lies in caring for the child, not in trying to solve funding issues. “In my experience the whole process just doesn’t work. Added to that, when the childminder is working, their priority has to be caring for young children, therefore the only time they can contact the Early Years Funding Team is outside of the office working hours – creating a vicious circle.
“Government funding is the only financial support available for childminders. There are no other grants and most of them are trying to make ends meet, because at the heart of it all they are still a self-employed business person” Elaine added.
The survey showed that these issues are escalating and will in turn affect the children and their parents. It also revealed that some childminders have had to introduce an additional fee for consumables, food, outings, mileage and activities with 22.6% stating they have had to increase their own non-funded hourly rate to help compensate, leaving them out of pocket.
This is naturally affecting the well-being of the childminders, leaving them feeling underpaid, undervalued and unsupported.
For more information about Childminding UK, please visit https://childmindinguk.com/
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