Community childminders are making a major difference to the lives of young families in Scotland, providing high-quality childcare and early learning support for children and emotional support and mentoring for parents in challenging situations.
Jacqueline Spence, Community Childminding Development Officer for the Scottish Childminding Association, said the programme started four years ago as a pilot in north-west Glasgow and was so successful it has been rolled out across the city, funded by Glasgow City Council.
Jacqueline said: “One family had a child with autism who couldn’t cope in a nursery environment so we tried one-to-one contact with a community childminder and the child thrived and grew in confidence and with that support they now attend play group.”
She added: “It’s fantastic the difference it makes to families.”
The Scottish Childminding Association works across Scotland where local authority funding is available. Jacqueline said: “We work in partnership with Glasgow City Council – we’ve helped around 200 families.”
She explained that the Glasgow team started with just five specially trained community childminders but now has 27. Staff must hold a Grade Four or above Care Inspectorate inspection result and complete training in equality, diversity and inclusion as well as child development and childrens’ rights.
Families need help for a variety of reasons, from parents undergoing medical treatment to asylum seeker families where parents need childcare in order to attend English classes.
Referrals come from the Early Years Joint Support Team which spans health, social work and education experts and health visitors also provide input. The programme mainly involves under-fives but can provide support for children up to eight years old.