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Following the recent joint announcement on emergency measures for childcare, the Department of Health has written to registered childcare providers today.

In early April, Education Minister, Peter Weir and Health Minister, Robin Swann outlined the £12m package of measures which is being developed for emergency childcare provision.

The letter outlines the process for accessing support available to enable a number of registered daycare settings, school age childcare settings and childminders to remain open for vulnerable children and those of key workers. The letter also explains what support is available for settings which remain closed and are unable to reopen, helping to support the sustainability of the sector.

Childcare providers and childminders who are eligible for financial assistance under the childcare provision scheme will receive an application form early next week.

A high number of applications are expected and the aim is to process them as quickly as possible.

Childcare provision will be made available where it is essential to enable keyworkers to go to work or to provide support to children who are vulnerable. Where it is possible to do so, children should be cared for in their own homes. Schools, pre-school education settings, registered daycare facilities and childminders should only be providing care for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.