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New proposals to assist recovery in the childcare sector have been announced today.

Education Minister Peter Weir outlined the plans following the allocation of a £10.5 million funding package for the childcare sector.

The Childcare Recovery Support will help childcare providers to reopen, or remain open, and will apply to day care and school age childcare settings, playgroups and childminders.

The package of measures developed for the period 1 July to 31 August will:

  • provide financial support to childcare providers to assist them to operate within the parameters of the Executive’s childcare recovery plan;
  • ensure as many providers as possible can open to assist parents returning to work; and
  • allow for the continuation of the bespoke Approved Home Childcarer Scheme aimed at enabling parents to have their childcare needs met in their own homes.

Minister Weir said: “Registered childcare providers offer safe and nurturing environments for children and we must do all we can to ensure these providers are supported to open and operate within current public health advice.

“My Department has developed proposals to assist the childcare sector as they begin to re-open in line with Executive economic recovery planning. This includes support for registered day care and school age settings, childminders and playgroups.

“I know that we can rely on your commitment and professionalism and I want to thank all providers for the work they do to support children and parents.

“Your continued support at this critical time will be vital in re-opening the sector and to deal with the challenges facing our society as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.”