A number of childminders may be providing unregistered childcare for children, without undergoing suitability checks, according to British Forces Early Years’ Service (BFEYS).
BFEYS, which is responsible for registering and inspecting childminders for the MOD in Western Europe since 2002, say, that while the extent of unregistered child minding is not yet known, they would not be surprised if there were large numbers of people providing this service without having registered.
Anyone who accepts payment for looking after children under the age of eight for more than two hours in any one day, and is not a relative of the child, must be registered with BFEYS and meet its inspection standards.
A BFEYS spokesperson said: "Registration with BFEYS is vitally important to help ensure only suitable people are looking after young children and they are kept safe. A registered childminder will have undergone courses, including first aid training. They are regulated, to ensure care is safe and of a high standard. Parents using registered childcare can take advantage of tax free childcare to help with childcare costs.”
The number of high profile cases in the UK media highlights the need for inspection and regulation of childcare.
To become a registered childminder vetting checks are completed for all adults who live and work on the premises. Prior to registration, all child minding applicants must have a home visit by a BFEYS inspector, who checks the suitability of the premises and ensures the childminder has a good understanding of the Early Years Foundation Stage; the statutory guidance for Early Years Provision. The inspector will also check that the childminder has completed essential courses and has insurance.
“When we are told that someone might be an unregistered childminder, we inform them of the requirement to register as a childminder under the Children Act 2006 and under Standing Orders for the British Army in Germany SO BFG 3218. Sometimes it transpires that they are friends helping each other out without payment or they caring for a child for less than two hours. If someone cares for friend’s children either in their home or any other home, they do not need to register unless they are paid for doing this.
Babysitting is another example of a private arrangement which does not require registration and is defined as care between 6 pm and 2 am on domestic premises.”
If you think that someone in your area is carrying out unregistered child minding or you wish for clarification then please contact BFEYS. You can remain anonymous if you wish.