Monday 04 November 2013
The Health and Social Services Department is proposing to increase the scope of laws concerning the regulation of childminders and day care providers.
At present, anyone who works as a childminder, or provides day care or nursery services for young children up to the age of 5, must register with HSSD. If the States approves these new proposals, day care services and childminders working with 5 to 8 year-olds will also have to be registered, and will be regularly inspected by HSSD's Early Years Team.
This change would see Guernsey come into line with what currently happens in the Jersey and the UK. It responds to the trend in popularity of After School Clubs and Holiday Clubs which are not inspected at present.
Although schools remain outside the scope of the law, any holiday clubs or day care services provided by States' Departments will be covered, as well as services provided in the private sector. In the longer-term, HSSD plans to introduce a set of standards for After School Clubs and Holiday Clubs which will be based on similar standards to the nurseries and pre-schools that are currently regulated.
The law will also introduce emergency powers, enabling HSSD to suspend a day care provider or childminder temporarily if there are concerns about child safety. This will enable the Department to react swiftly to concerns, and ensure that children are kept safe from harm.
The basic requirements for registration, at present, are that day care services, nurseries and childminders must be registered with HSSD if they care for children for 2 hours or longer on 6 days or more per year, and receive payment or reward for doing so. Organisations which provide training or education, such as sporting and dance clubs and youth organisations, will not be required to register with HSSD. The only change to the criteria under the new proposals is that 5- to 8-year-olds receiving day care will now be covered.
HSSD consulted widely with private sector providers and States' Departments before bringing this report to the States. As part of this consultation, current After School and Holiday clubs received a written invitation from HSSD to participate and provide their views.
Regulation of childcare services ensures that childminders and day care providers are appropriately qualified and checked, that premises are safe and suitable for children, and that parents can be assured that their children are safe, protected and well cared-for. By extending the scope of this regulation to include 5- to 8-year-olds, HSSD is reflecting the importance of ensuring safe services for all young children, in line with best practice in the UK and elsewhere.