Local parents feeling the heat over summer childcare

Posted by
info@newrytimes.com
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
Community

As we look ahead to the school summer break, Employers For Childcare is reporting that the cost of holiday childcare for school aged children has soared by £52 per week over the last ten years, and now costs £145 on average.

The figures are revealed as the charity launched its 10th Northern Ireland Childcare Survey.

 

 

Parents also highlighted difficulties in accessing the childcare they need, with many pointing to a lack of holiday and wraparound childcare.

Aoife Hamilton, Policy and Information Manager at Employers For Childcare, explained, “Securing suitable childcare can be extremely difficult during holiday periods, and one in two families with a school aged child reported their childcare costs increase during the school break, as they need access to additional provision.

“In Co. Down 42% of parents who reported insufficient provision believe there is lack of summer childcare in their area. Due to a shortfall in support for our vital childcare sector, the 8-week school holiday – which should be about fun and enjoyment – can add stress and strain for many parents.

“When you review the research findings more broadly, the average cost of a full-time childcare place here is £166 per week which equates to over a third of the average Northern Ireland household income. This rises to £168 in Co. Down, £2 more than the Northern Ireland average.

 

 

“Parents are continuing to struggle to afford childcare, with more than two in five reporting using means other than their income (such as savings, credit cards or even payday loans) to cover the cost.

She continued, “In lone parent households this figure rises to more than 50%. When you couple this with the fact that one in ten lone parent households are spending over half of their household income on childcare, it’s a recipe for disaster.

“This is in a context where childcare providers report that they too are experiencing increased costs and challenges to their own sustainability, with some feeling they have no option but to leave the sector. This is unacceptable and fails to reflect the value of our vital childcare infrastructure.”

 

 

“The Northern Ireland Childcare Survey is unique in bringing together the views both of families and childcare providers. On their behalf, we are calling for a fundamental overhaul of our existing childcare infrastructure, to place a greater emphasis on supporting parents to access and afford the childcare they need, and ensuring financial support is made directly available to childcare providers.

“Government must listen to these voices, and deliver the necessary investment in a high quality, sustainable childcare system that is affordable for parents to access, and for providers to deliver,” Aoife added.

Parents and carers can call the Family Benefits Advice Service on Freephone 0800 028 3008 which offers free, impartial and confidential advice on the financial support available towards the cost of childcare and other family benefits.

 

 

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