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How childcare providers can provide care under the new coronavirus childcare assistance scheme.

First published:
6 April 2020
Last updated:

Introduction

The Childcare Offer for Wales, which provides up to 30 hours of early education and childcare for 3 and 4 year olds, is closed to new applications.

This is so that the funding can be used to support key workers with their childcare costs and support vulnerable children during the coronavirus pandemic. This funding is provided through the Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme (C-CAS).

Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme (C-CAS)

The C-CAS will fund childcare costs for pre-school children (children aged from 0 to 5 years who do not have a school place) of:

The fund will cover care for out of hours and weekends. There is no limit to the amount of hours your children can be cared for. 

The scheme cannot be used to pay for provider retention fees.

Pre-school aged vulnerable children

Parents or guardians of vulnerable children can apply for and get childcare until the scheme ends.

Parents or guardians working in education

Parents or guardians working in education, such as teachers, can apply for and get childcare until the end of the summer school term.

Other key workers

Other key workers can apply until 12 July 2020. If eligible they can get childcare until the scheme ends.

Closing the scheme

We expect the C-CAS to close at the end of August. We will review this over the summer and in light of evidence around the virus and transmission.

Eligibility

Households where a parent is a key worker are eligible for the scheme. This includes workers in refuges and other supported accommodation for victims of domestic abuse.  Vulnerable children are also eligible.

What this means for the Childcare Offer

Where children were already eligible for and enrolled on the Offer before 18 March 2020, we committed to continue to pay for the hours of childcare booked under the Offer for a period of three months, even if the settings was closed or the child was not in attendance.  This commitment was set out in a statement from the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services made on 18 March 2020.

From 22 June 2020 when childcare services can increase the number of children they look after, we will provide Offer funding for children who were eligible for, and taking up the Offer, before the end of March, if that’s what the parent wants.

The Offer is suspended for new entrants until September 2020. Children who were due to start getting the Offer from the start of what would have been the summer school term will not be able to get the Offer until this suspension is lifted.

Read the Deputy Minister’s statement made on 9 June about funding for childcare.

Getting the Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme (C-CAS)

Childcare providers can get the fund to look after pre-school children. You need to be registered with Care Inspectorate Wales.

You can still get the new fund even if you are not registered for the Childcare Offer.

Apply

You need to contact your local Family Information Service to get the fund.

Some local authorities are no longer accepting new applications. Get more information from your local Family Information Service.

Nannies

Nannies registered with the Care Inspectorate Wales Home Approval Scheme cannot get this funding.

What you can use the fund for

You can use the fund to pay for food and transport costs. For more information contact your local Family Information Service.

How to claim

You can claim payments from 1 April 2020. You can also back date your payments from this date under certain circumstances.  You would need to discuss this with your local authority.

If you need to, you can claim every week. You need to check with your local Family Information Service.

More information on how payments can be claimed is available from your local Family Information Service.

Hourly rates

There is no set hourly rate for C-CAS. It is your local authority who set the method of provision and associated funding for their area for this fund.

Older siblings

Funding under C-CAS for older siblings will end at the end of summer term, at the latest (your local authority will decide the closing date). Vulnerable children may be an exception, subject to local authority decision.

Extra funding for children who need extra support

You can apply for extra funding to look after children who need extra support. You need to contact your local Family Information Service.

Support for childcare settings

We will fund childcare costs for pre-school children of key workers and pre-school aged vulnerable children, apart from any retention fees charged by childcare providers, until 31 August 2020 under the C-CAS.

After 22 June 2020, we will also fund childcare for the children who were eligible for, and who were taking up the Childcare Offer before the end of March 2020, if the child is in regular attendance at your service. We will not be funding places under the Childcare Offer where the setting is closed or the child is no longer attending.

Get more information about support, grants and loans available for childcare providers including those who are self-employed.

Payment to deep clean your service

Childcare settings will be required to fund any deep cleans required.

Looking after more children at your service

From 22 June 2020 you can start to increase the number of children you look after at your service. Registered childcare providers will be able to look after children of any age (0 to 12 year olds) although we will only be supporting pre-school aged children (0 to 5 year olds) through the C-CAS and eligible 3 and 4 year olds through the Offer.

Notifying Care Inspectorate Wales

If you closed your service because of the pandemic and are now reopening, you need to tell CIW that you are looking after children again, using your CIW online account.

Keeping children and your staff safe

Before you reopen your service or start to look after more children you need to read our guidance about protecting children and staff from coronavirus.

National Minimum Standards (NMS) and temporary changes during the coronavirus pandemic

Temporary changes were made to the National Minimum Standards to support services looking after the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

Foundation Phase Nursery (FPN)

Funding for FPN is distributed through the Revenue Support Grant (RSG).  All decisions relating to how RSG is administered are for individual local authorities. Decisions on how this element of the 30 hour Childcare Offer is funded during the pandemic therefore rests with individual authorities and may vary from authority to authority.

Inspections

Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) will not be starting routine inspections immediately, but will be keeping in touch with services.  Please email ciw@gov.wales if you have specific questions.


Estyn will not inspect maintained schools in the academic year September 2020 to July 2021. 

They will be working with a range of stakeholders on changing their work over the coming year.

Read Estyn’s Chief Inspector blog post on their support for Welsh education and training during the coronavirus pandemic.

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