Childminders

Registered childminders are self-employed carers who look after children in their own homes. They must be registered with the local Health and Social Care Trust if they're paid to look after children they aren't closely related to for more than two hours in the day.

What a childminder does

A childminder can care for up to six children under 12, including their own. Only three of these may be aged under five and usually only one child  below one-year old. There are some exceptions, for example, twins.

Every year the local Health and Social Care Trust inspects the childminder and their home to assure the standard of care the childminder gives children. The police check everyone aged over 10 living in the childminder's home.

Many childminders are members of Northern Ireland Childminding Association (NICMA). They can get guidance and training from NICMA.

Using a registered childminder 

The advantages in using a registered childminder are:

  • they're inspected annually by the local Health and Social Care Trust
  • they have their own public liability insurance
  • they can be flexible about their working hours
  • they can provide care, fun and learning in a home setting
  • they can care for children of different ages together
  • they're suitable for babies and children under two, who need to develop a close relationship with an adult through one to one care
  • they can develop a close relationship with families as children grow up
  • they can offer a school pick-up-service
  • they're often experienced mothers
  • they're eligible for the childcare element of Working Tax Credit

Information to check about a childminder

Before you employ a childminder, you should check:

  • they're registered with the Early Years Team in the local Health and Social Care Trust and have insurance
  • their home is safe with plenty of play and learning opportunity
  • the childminder has properly-fitted car seats in case your child will be in their car
  • the agreed contract covers hours, pay, illness and holidays

Asking a childminder about childcare

To find out about the childminder's standard of childcare, you should ask them:

  • to give you contact information for parents of other children they look after so you can follow up their references
  • how long they've been childminding and how long they'll continue
  • ages of the children they look after
  • their routine for looking after children and activities they'll do with your child
  • about food they provide and if this is included in their fee
  • if other adults will also be in the house
  • who the childminder would call in an emergency
  • about sleep, potty-training and setting boundaries on behaviour, it's important to agree the approach for your child
  • how the childminder fits in household work when they're looking after your child, including shopping or taking other children to school 
  • the costs, hours, holiday pay and other conditions
  • for their last inspection report

You can also ask the local Early Years Team for the last inspection report.

Family Support NI

Family Support NI holds the public register of all registered and approved childcare providers in Northern Ireland. To search for registered and approved childcare providers in your area, go to:

Childcare partnerships

Childcare partnerships are operated by the HSC Board to offer information and support to childcare providers, parents and employers.

NICMA

NICMA is a charity and membership organisation which works to support childminders, parents and children by the provision of quality childcare and education in registered home based settings.

NICMA run a free information and vacancy service for information on NICMA registered childminders.

Costs

Childminders are usually paid on an hourly basis, at a rate agreed with the parents. NICMA can advise on recommended rates.  You should discuss hours, holiday pay and other terms and conditions with the childminder.

Help to pay for childcare

There are different financial benefits and support available to help parents pay for childcare.

If you're a working parent with children under 12 (or under 17 for children with disabilities), you can open an online account to pay for registered childcare. For every £8.00 you put in the account, the government adds £2.00. You can get up to £2,000 for one child. If your child has a disability, you can get up to £4,000 for one child.

More useful links

 

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email:
rating@lpsni.gov.uk

For queries or advice about property valuation, email:
valuation@lpsni.gov.uk

For queries or advice about land registry, email:
CustomerInformation.LandRegistration@finance-ni.gov.uk

For mapping queries, email:
Mapping.Helpdesk@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.