Closed petition Allow Ofsted registered childminders to receive funding for related children

We believe it is unjust that nurseries and preschools receive funding for children related to staff at the same rate as anyone else, while dedicated childminders can't receive funding for caring for a child who is related to them.

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With the new funding to get parents working and help with childcare costs why can't an Ofsted registered childminder receive funding for a relative? This can mean parents have to use childminders that are further away, costing the parents fuel money etc to get the child there etc.

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Government responded

This response was given on 25 April 2024

The 2006 Childcare Act prohibits childminders from receiving funding for related children because the definition of childcare excludes care provided for a child by a relatives and parents.

Childminders form a very important part of the childcare market, providing high quality, flexible and affordable care in a home environment.

There is legislation prohibiting registered childcare providers, including childminders, from receiving entitlements funding for related children. Section 18 of the Childcare Act 2006 states that “childcare” does not include care for a child provided by a parent or step-parent of a child, a person with parental responsibility for a child, a relative of a child, or a foster parent of a child. “Relative” in relation to a child is defined in the Act as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother or sister, whether of the full blood or half blood or by marriage or civil partnership. The intention behind the provision in the Childcare Act 2006 was to avoid creating an incentive for adults to register to become childcare providers, and then be paid to look after related children that they are already looking after on an informal basis.

It is possible that a local authority can choose to fund a childminder or other childcare provider providing care for a related child. However, this would have to be from the local authority funds other than those used to fund providers’ entitlements payments.

Although childminders cannot receive entitlements funding for related children, flexibilities within staff to child ratios exist which may benefit childminders while caring for related children, allowing childminders to care for related children without limiting the income they can earn.

Within the EYFS statutory framework for childminders, exceptional changes to the ratios may be made, always maintaining that childminders cannot have more than six children under the age of eight per adult providing care.

Usual ratio requirements mean that of these six children: a maximum of three may be young children and there should only be one child under the age of one. However, if a childminder can demonstrate that the individual needs of all the children are being met, exceptions to the usual ratios can be made.

Examples of permissible exceptions include but are not limited to when childminders are caring for siblings, when caring for their own child, or to maintain continuity of care. It is a childminders’ responsibility to maintain the quality of care and safety and security of the children they care for and to ensure the requirements in the EYFS statutory framework for childminders continue to be met.

We recognise the concern with childminders being unable to receive entitlements funding for related children in line with the expansion of early years entitlements funding. While we do not currently have any plans to change our policy, it is an area kept under constant review.

Department for Education