Posted on: Tuesday 19 June 2018
From September, Torfaen Council will be the latest local authority in Wales to roll out the Welsh Government’s Childcare Offer for three and four year olds.
The Childcare Offer for Wales provides 30 hours a week of Government funded early education and childcare for working parents of three and four year olds in Wales, for 48 weeks of the year.
Currently there are approximately 1000 children potentially eligible in Torfaen. To be eligible, parents must be working more than the equivalent of 16 hours at national minimum wage and be resident in Torfaen, however, the childcare can be accessed through registered childcare providers both in Torfaen, and outside the borough.
The administration of the scheme will be hosted by Blaenau Gwent Council who will work with Torfaen’s to deliver the offer. Blaenau Gwent will deal with applications for parents living in Torfaen, determining eligibility and issuing childcare booking forms, signing up childcare providers in Torfaen and dealing with payments and providing information to Welsh Government. So far, 308 children in Blaenau Gwent have accessed the funding with 46 childcare providers currently benefitting from funding to deliver the offer.
Welsh Government Minister for Children, Older People and Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies said: “Our ground-breaking childcare offer is making a real difference to parents right across Wales, reducing the strain on family income and helping ensure childcare is not a barrier to them taking up employment or increasing their hours. “I’m delighted to confirm the offer is being rolled out in Torfaen, as we continue the work to roll out the offer across the entire country by September 2020.”
Cllr Mandy Owen, Torfaen’s Executive member for Children and Young People, said: "This scheme genuinely helps working parents and is a real incentive for parents wishing to return to work as wages are not immediately swallowed up by childcare. We have been consulting with local childcare providers and feedback received from both parents and providers in Blaenau Gwent has been very positive. We are very pleased to be working in collaboration with Blaenau Gwent who have been successfully managing their own scheme for over a year.
Blaenau Gwent’s Executive Member for Social Services, Cllr John Mason, added:
“We were delighted to be chosen as a pilot area back in 2016 and we have worked hard to make sure the scheme has been a success here in Blaenau Gwent. This is a fantastic scheme and we have marketed it to make sure that as many eligible families as possible are accessing this free help with childcare, which we know can make all the difference to a working family and can bring benefits both financially and socially.
“We are delighted to have been invited by Welsh Government to work with Torfaen on their offer and will be using our knowledge and experience to date to ensure the area also reaps the benefits of the scheme.”
Applications will open in July 2018. For more information about the offer, and for information on childcare options, please contact Torfaen Family Information Service on 0800 0196 330 or visit www.torfaenfis.org.uk