Advice for choosing a childminder

The NICMA Childminding Association has launched a support and advice service to match parents with childminders who have suitable vacancies.

The organisation is urging parents who opt for a childminder to make sure he or she is registered with their local Health and Social Care Trust. In order to comply with minimum standards for the early years sector, all newly registered childminders are now required to have training in health and safety, safeguarding children and paediatric first aid prior to completion of registration. Existing registered childminders will also be required to complete this training.

The NICMA warns that unregistered childminders don’t have insurance, haven’t been vetted or inspected and are unlikely to have completed the required training.

The organisation has a dedicated telephone helpline and website search facility which will help parents find a registered childminder almost anywhere in Northern Ireland.

NICMA’s “Choosing a Childminder” booklet also offers a comprehensive guide to what parents can expect from childminders, although what each individual childminder offers may vary slightly.

The organisation believes that any childminder who offers good quality care will understand why parents want to ask questions.

Once parents have selected a childminder, the NICMA recommends that they sign a contract with him or her, as this provides a vital safeguard for both parties.

For more information on finding and choosing a childminder, call NICMA on 028 9181 1015 or visit the NICMA website at www.nicma.org. Alternatively, contact Childminding Development Officer Liz Brown on 0751 747 2271 or email liz.brown@nicma.org.