I have listened, read and watched with great interest, the great hoopla about childcare in the media recently. Each time, the issues about childcare being flogged over and over again makes me wonder! Are we now at a stage where we wait for the government to make our decisions on how we provide care for our children? Are we so nonchalant about what we want for our children that we wait for the government to do something before we can? Why are people expecting something for nothing? Nobody wants to raise a finger to do anything anymore.
The government decided to increase child ratios per carer in exchange for a higher qualified carer. Hmmm. This was another avenue for us to whinge and moan about how this government has lost grip with reality. Yes, whilst increasing ratios might be a bit too ambitious and not a well thought out strategy for sorting out childcare problems, we need to consider what we have at the moment.
We have carers who are most times, not properly qualified to work with our children at all! Carers who are underpaid and so are not motivated to actually do the work they are employed to do. What qualification does the average carer have to excel at what they do? Usually, an NVQ and some work related training. Are they updating that knowledge on a yearly basis? How is that knowledge updated if at all? Should the government investigate the salaries of child carers and make improvements?
We have seen more strategies to combat the childcare crisis introduced by the government, to help mothers leave their precious ones, to return to work. One such is the recent introduction of the childcare start-up grant (£2m) targeted at out of work women. Apparently, if an out of work woman decides to start up a child care business, she will be given up to £500 to cover things like legal and insurance costs, training, equipment and adapting premises. There is a caveat though. The £500 limit will only be given to women setting up a nursery. Those who are setting up as child-minders will be awarded less. As if the child-minding industry is not already oversubscribed! Do a search on the internet for child-minders in a particular area and see how many there are. £500 is nothing when you consider the costs of setting up a childcare business. Why does the government think that £500 or less is sufficient to start up a childcare business? They hope to help create 6,000 new childcare companies! Yeah right! Are you kidding me?
Having said that, what can be done about problems that arise when these children fall ill and can’t go to the child-minder, nursery or school because of fear of infecting other children? When the child-minder has to go on holiday but parents still have to work but still pay for child care they don’t get? When school heating or water supply break down and the children have to go home… unexpectedly? Parents are called out of work to come pick their children. Imagine the panic. In comes emergency childcare.
How many emergency child care services are available right now and what are their charges? Charges, terms and conditions vary across board. Again, a search on the internet brings up a range of businesses offering these services. Child-minders also offer these services as well which for some parents is quite convenient. Whilst most child-minders would advertise emergency childcare, it isn’t really, is it? They wouldn’t accept a sick child in their home for reasons stated above. Should the government also investigate this and make provisions? I don’t believe the government can continue to make decisions for us as parents. We have a duty to our children to ensure they are cared for at all times whilst we go to work. The price of that Gucci bag could pay for your child care fees for 3 months.
Take the responsibility and stop waiting for the government to do something before you do. Rant over.