18 May 2020
Scheme is now open for applications from eligible childcare providers
The COVID-19 Childcare Support Scheme offering £12 million package of measures to support the childcare sector has opened to eligible childcare providers.
Under the scheme, financial assistance will be provided to:
- registered daycare settings, school age childcare settings and childminders that remain open for vulnerable children and those of key workers
- daycare and school age childcare settings which remain closed and are unable to reopen
The Department of Health has written to registered childcare providers and issued applications to those eligible to apply. Application forms for closed and open daycare and school aged childcare settings issued on Wednesday 6 May 2020. Applications for childminders and the Bespoke Approved Home Childcare Scheme issued on Thursday 7 May 2020.
Any provider entitled to apply to the scheme should have received an application form at this stage.
Application forms issued from the Business Services Organisation (BSO) should be returned to BSO, which will make every effort to process them and make payments as quickly as possible. A high number of applications are expected. It is important that application forms are completed accurately to reduce the risk of delays in any payments due.
Several organisations provide support with the completion of application forms, including the Northern Ireland Childminding Association, the Early Years Organisation, Playboard, Employers for Childcare.
The organisation you should contact will depend on your setting and the nature of your application.
For more information and guidance, see Family Support NI website
Where childcare is provided, it must be done in a way which is as safe as possible in public health terms. Any provider who is planning to stay open or wishes to reopen must contact their local Health and Social Care Trust Early Years Team urgently. These Teams are available to provide any advice needed, including advice on safe care.
First published 18 May 2020