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Making the assumption that the current law on unregistered childcare is wrong/bad/evil etc: How do the authorities differentiate between unregistered (not needing registration) childcare & registered?

(31 Posts)
Katymac Tue 29-Sep-09 10:15:19

Assuming that:
registration is needed for tax credits
the current law is abolished

What criteria is to be used in future to decide whether someone should be registered or whether they can care for children without registration

This is not intended to be an argument about the current system - I want it to address what the system should be for the future

What do people think should happen?

StrictlyAvadaKedavra Tue 29-Sep-09 10:18:40

I don't think the current laws will be/should be abolished in their entireity I think they have drawn the line exactly wherethey could and should.

I do think the system as it is should stand but be made clearer in terms of what reward can mean and also publicised better - although think the last part has been achieved somewhat wink

I think giving back childcare to a Care regulatory body rather than an Education based one would be a good move too.

squirrel42 Tue 29-Sep-09 10:44:24

Re the care thing Ofsted does have quite a bit of care regulation as well now, since it took over all children's social care registration a few years ago. I can't see the one over-arching organisation splitting back up into lots of different parts - enconomies of scale and all.

My personal view is that the registerable vs non-registerable care rules are pretty much fine, and you could avoid problems like this with a bit of tweaking. The reward covering more than just money thing isn't a big problem, and should still apply if one parent does lots of favours for dozens of friends and has other people's children all day every day in exchange for gifts and evening/weekend babysitting.

However I think it would be useful to have another exemption so that onene reciprocal arrangements don't require registration. There would be very few friends who can take more than one other family's kids on a regular basis like the policewomen, and with one family only it's effectively like an arrangement with relatives. Once you start having several different children at different times, that's when the need to do things like keep records becomes a factor. here are also very few under-the-radar childminders who would only take kids from one family, so there's little chance of the exemption being abused.

squirrel42 Tue 29-Sep-09 10:45:09

That odd smiley was supposed to be one-two-one with some :'s in! Sorry!

Arfa Tue 29-Sep-09 14:25:46

The policewomen would only ever be looking after each other's children. They are not trying to expand on this so they are not operating a childminding business, therefore regulation should not be required.

Katymac Wed 30-Sep-09 07:25:38

Isn't this funny - I thought there would be loads of posts on here.

It must be so much easier to slag off the government than to come up with constructive suggestions on how to improve things hmm

Katymac Wed 30-Sep-09 07:26:29

Sorry meant to say thank to you guys who have commented.......sanity prevailed, I think?

tatt Wed 30-Sep-09 10:16:33

why legislate at all if a child is being cared for at the home of someone with children under 16 - registration could be limited to those who operate from business premises or those who have children from more than one family. If I choose to leave my child(ren) with someone who doesn't have insurance or first aid training that's my lookout.

what was so wrong with the unregulated system that is worse that the current mess?

pigletmania Wed 30-Sep-09 10:24:18

As i said somewhere else on here I am a SAHM and do suffer from post natal depression, i dont drive and my dh is as useful as a chocolate teapot. I have a dear friend who is my dds godmother who takes her every now and again so that i can have a break and do shopping without a sreaming toddler or just have valuable time to recharge my batteries. Without her i could not cope and would have eneded up in a psychiatric institution, she has been a rock and my dd loves her and is like a second mum to her, i trust her 100%.

As far as i am concerend my dear friend is not providing childmind services, i am not working so there is no reward. The law should be more flexible to allow arrangements such as i have mentioned to happen. I consider it as an intrusion in family life and undermines my role as dd mother. At the end of the day it should be my and my husbands choice if i give my dd to her godmother to be looked after occasionally. What has happened to a sense of community.

The law should go down heavy on unregistered people setting up childcare business and touting for business not my friend taking care of my child every now and again so that i can have a much needed break. I have no family nearby and nor does dh, i consider my dear friend like a sister so it would be like my sister taking care of her.

BoffinMum Wed 30-Sep-09 10:33:36

I think we need an Office for the Inspection of Care, or OIC.

That way we could keep an eye on childcare and nursing homes and so on, without trying to turn homes into institutions. It could be very light touch, just looking at 'elf and safety and so on, but leaving the way people choose to live out of it.

thedollshouse Wed 30-Sep-09 10:39:42

When I applied for a job a little while ago my friend and I discussed looking after each others children after school on alternate days. We had no idea at the time but under the current rules we would be required to register as childminders. We currently look after each others children on occasion anyway so the only thing that would change would be the regularity.

I didn't get the job and now I am pregnant so it isn't a immediate concern. I was discussing this with friends recently and we all said that if we were ever in this position we would ignore the rules.

prettybird Wed 30-Sep-09 10:54:20

The problem with restricting it to the children from one family is that it could still be used to stop play dates unless the issue of reward is addressed.

My dh used occasionally to pick up ds and two of his friends from school on a Friday instead of them going to after school club. That could easily have been for more than 2 hours and more than 14 times per year.

We also would occasionally drop ds off at the home of one of the boys involved at the weekend, so dh and I could do some shopping. That could be viewed as reciprocal. We viewed it as giving ds a chance to play with his friend and us having a chance to go around Homebase without him moaning about it! grin

southernbelle77 Wed 30-Sep-09 11:26:02

What I don't understand is why two parents can't look after each others children without it being a criminal offence.

As a CM, I totally understand the need for registration and regulation. I think that unregistered CM's who are working with lots of children, don't have insurance etc etc should be stopped. I think what needs to happen is that what counts as reward needs to be addressed.

I honestly do not see anything wrong with two parents looking after eachs others children. I guess I am breaking the law with dd's best friends mum in that we often have each others dd for more than 2 hours and it certainly is for more than 14 days a year. We do it because the girls like to play with each other, nothing else. But it is still over the 'threshold' of time allowed. It's ridiculous.

I don't really have any constructive ideas for what needs to happen I suppose, but I honestly think it is a sad state when two friends can't help each other out.

thebody Wed 30-Sep-09 13:23:34

as a cm I am fully aware of being vetted and insured, I am running a business and understand the need for regulations.. all good if a pain..

However friends you trust to have your kids while you shop or have play dates, to ask them to be registered is stupid and actully unworkable.. how are the authorities to cope with all the extra work and how on earth will they know anyway, who is going to tell ??? will we have a crime stoppers mumber! pathetic..

this will be like ID cards and fade away...

Annner Wed 30-Sep-09 21:48:09

I have been struggling with what is meant by "reward", which lies at the heart of the problem.

It seems to me that Ofsted are interpreting reward as, "not losing out". With a truly reciprocal agreement you are no better off and no worse off than you would have been without it. Your child has been looked after; you have looked after your friend's child. Neither of you have gained materially.

When it gets to the point when one party is clearly giving more time than the other, or they are "helping out" more than one family, that is when one side can be said to be rewarded, surely? i.e. the unregistered CM is clearly doing all the minding and not getting any childcare from the parents in return.

The whole point of true reciprocity is that you are each inconvenienced and helped proportionally.

TheCrackFox Wed 30-Sep-09 21:59:29

when money changes hands it should be regulated. Otherwise the government should piss off and mind it's own business.

Katymac Thu 01-Oct-09 07:44:59

TheCrackFox - just to be controversial

I am 'paid' by some of my clients by barter. I provide (registered) childcare they provide DIY or dressmaking.

I declare the value of their input as a cash amount on my tax return, but no cash exchanges hands......so should I be registered for that?

& how about if another child was paid for my shopping (ie parent did & paid for my weekly shop) - should that be regulated?

BoffinMum Thu 01-Oct-09 15:42:39

If my kids babysit for someone before 6pm, presumably this is now illegal, as money changes hands, yet they are under 18 so are therefore not entitled to be registered.

Katymac Thu 01-Oct-09 16:12:09

No because babysitting happens at the child's house so is therefore exempt

tatt Fri 02-Oct-09 15:54:29

the system has become so unworkable I feel it would be best removed completely. My children are long past the age at which I needed childcare. I was quite capable of finding them good quality care without all the regulation.

However if you must have registration you could have it only for childcare that qualifies for benefits. So if the policewomen wanted to claim any tax credit for their childcare they'd need to register. However if they didn't they wouldn't. That might mean some childminders operating an unregistered business but it would probably be for things like after school care.

juuule Fri 02-Oct-09 16:13:29

That sounds the sensible way to go to me, tatt.

MM1994 Sat 03-Oct-09 06:05:58

One thing that everyone is forgetting is that the statistics on child abuse show that in the majority of cases it is found to be a friend of the family!

It is not just childminders that are police checked, but everyone over 16 who lives in their house or is a regular visitor when the children are there. They are also trained in safeguarding children and therefore aware of the signs to look for and are very cautious about who they let in their homes when children are around. An unregistered person may not be quite so vigilant.

A friend or a friend just had her kids taken into care when it turned out that her new boyfriend was a paedophile and had been abusing her kids (under 5s). She had friends' children in the house when he was there and I know he was left alone with them when she popped to the loo, prepared tea and nipped 2 doors up to the local shop! My friend trusted her but is now much more wary of who she lets her kids visit. (Luckily he never touched my friends kids - all school age so too old for him shock.)

Arfa Sat 03-Oct-09 11:15:37

MM1994: You are wrong in saying that the majority of abuse comes from a friend of the family. Instead the majority of abuse comes from a family member, so how do you legislate against that? CRB check everybody? CRB checks aren't foolproof as the recent case of the Plymouth nursery worker showed. Also, in the much greater majority of families, no abuse happens whatsoever. You may disagree, but I think that this article puts things into perspective.

Arfa Tue 13-Oct-09 09:31:08

Original Question: "How do the authorities differentiate between unregistered childcare & registered?"

Answer: By finally coming to their senses.

Interesting Points:
1) Ed Balls has "asked" (rather than told) Ofsted to change the way they enforce the law.
2) The term "reward" has been used in various Childcare Acts since 1948 and it is only now that a government agency has tried to enforce the law so strictly. So what has changed?

squirrel42 Tue 13-Oct-09 10:00:47

Ofsted has interpreted "reward" as including exchanging childcare arrangements since they took over the regulation of childminding. They just don't "go looking for" unregistered childcare, they only investigate when someone makes a complaint or brings something to their attention. A few cases have probably been found before but just no one ever went to their MP and the press about it.

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