Children and Families Bill

Memorandum submitted by Bernadette Dent (CF 86)

I would like to add my comments to the consultation on the Children and Families Bill.

1. I am an Ofsted registered childminder with 8 years of experience caring for young children. I have recently completed my Level 3 qualification . I am also a mother of four children, aged 5, 7,9 and 11.

2. The areas of the Children and Families Bill about which I have most concerns are - ratios for early years children, childminder agencies and qualifications for early years workers.

3. Ratios for early years children

3.1 I find the whole idea of putting children at risk by increasing the ratios all in order to save money ludicrous and as a parent very very concerning.

4. Agencies for childminders

4.1 I had my children and chose to go into childminding so that I could still retain a family unit, to be there for them and other children, creating a family environment for them to grow and be nurtured into well rounded individuals, but also to try and share the burden of the increasing expenditure of family necessities ( food and a roof over our heads). I welcomed the changes that ensured the safety and health of those young children and that there were checks in place to prevent harm coming to them. Enabling me to be recognised as a professional and not just a "minder of children".

4.2 It is becoming increasingly difficult though to keep up with and justify the amount of time needed in order to be a consencious, professional childminder and all that entails. Each year there seems to be a further hurdle to jump. It seems to me that the Government doesn’t want a community or family unit anymore, just numbers for people and all contributing to the taxman, to be earning – part of the workforce. I don’t want to return to the Office and miss my children’s young developing lives in order to feed them. I believe it is important for them to have their mother or father with them to guide and nurture them. If not, then someone trustworthy and a surrogate "mother" /"father" figure in their absence.

4.3 Bringing in Agencies will not only create another unnecessary level of bureaucracy but another cause for confusion and a tier system. Making childminders’ lives even more stressful and harder than they already are. We have managed our own paperwork and recruitment of new mindees before, why do we need someone else to complicate the matter? That we will have to find further £’s for? Complicated and costly for us and that of the childcare seeking parent?

5. Qualifications for early years workers

5.1 So, if I am to continue with my chosen career as a childminder, which was so that I could be with and there for my children and others. I will also now have to re-sit Maths and English to be considered worthy of doing a job I have already been doing, rather successfully already? It seems to me to be a very narrow minded view point and one that is rather outdated. I love what I do. It is the hardest but most rewarding job I have ever had. This is just about saving money regardless of what is lost. And what will be lost is far more valuable if only you can remove the £’s from your eyes. This isn’t about what we have on paper. This is about being able to contribute and nurture lives in a safe environment. Where the parent is happy and the child is happy. And the Childminder or nursery worker is happy too. Whilst allowing each to earn a living.

I hope you take my comments into consideration and help me protect outcomes for the next generation of our children and my livelihood.

April 2013

Prepared 19th April 2013