The Welsh Government announced that the suspension of the Childcare Offer to new entrants is extended until at least the end of August. Meanwhile it will continue payments of the Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme (C-CAS) to fund childcare for the pre-school children of critical workers and vulnerable children.
NDNA said the delay in announcing this has made planning much more difficult for childcare businesses and called for immediate financial support to keep these businesses sustainable.
Within the statement, the Welsh Government announced:
They will be maintaining the suspension of new applications for the Childcare Offer for Wales for a further two months, that is, until at least the end of August. During this period local authority delivery partners will not accept or process new applications, and no children will start their entitlement under the Offer.
They will be conducting a further review of the position in August, with a view to reintroducing the Offer in September if it is viable to do so.
During this period they will continue to provide funded childcare for the pre-school age children of critical workers and vulnerable children under the Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme (C-CAS)
While the Offer remains suspended to new entrants, those children who were eligible for and accessing childcare under the Offer prior to 31 March can still do so if they remain eligible. Where those children are in regular attendance at childcare, they will pay the costs for the hours provided under the Offer. However, where a setting is closed, or a child is no longer in regular attendance, we will not meet those costs.
Read the full announcement here
NDNA Cymru’s Chief Executive, Purnima Tanuku OBE said: “The continuation of the funding of C-CAS will be welcome news for many nurseries who are able to open for critical workers and vulnerable children. However the complexities of the funding can still leave some childcare businesses operating at a loss while delivering this important service.
“The announcement from the Welsh Government that the Childcare Offer will not be continuing where children are unable to attend settings leaves these parents and providers with less than ten days to plan for the coming months. This delay has made a difficult situation worse for many settings.
“Nurseries and other providers are gearing up towards wider reopening from 29 June but this announcement means some may lose funding over a week before that date. Providers are between a rock and a hard place where they might not be able to re-open but also lose out on support to remain sustainable.
“Childcare businesses will be looking at months of reduced demand for places and increased operating costs as they bring in measures to keep children and staff safe. That’s why we need to see a transformation and recovery fund for the early years sector to help providers weather this storm and be there for families and children in the future.”