Hello - I'm a Mum of two and also a Childminder. I have already posted on the relevant bit of this forum, but figured many of you would care about this issue...
The current government are attempting to forge through childcare reforms as part of the Children & Families Bill. Elizabeth Truss MP (see Mumsnet live web chat 7 Feb) is wanting all new Childminders to join agencies (rather than remaining independent and individually inspected by Ofsted). This raises many serious issues, I believe the following will happen:
- children wont be properly Safeguarded - many Childminders will stop / leave - so in a year or so there will be FEWER Childminders (NOT more!) - parents won't be able to 'choose' their Childminder - the 'middle man' agencies will take commission from parents & childminders.
Sorry, but as someone who has just had to "sack" a childminder (`I know they are self employed but you know what I mean), I'm not quite sure why it is a bad thing for them to be screened through an agency, provided the agencies use the same criteria as OFSTED, they are CRB checked etc. You only have to spend a few mins on the childcare board to know that there are many CM out there who meet current guidelines but who parents are having difficulty with. I haven't read the proposals and if it leads to less regulation I can see your worries, but from what you've outlined, I don't. Are they really suggesting that you just get assigned a CM from whatever agency you apply to?