Home childcarers

A home childcarer allows parents to have their children cared for in their own home. They're professional childcarers who give safe care. They provide play and learning activities to help a child's development. Parents can get help to pay childcare costs.

The Home Childcarer Approval Scheme

The Home Childcarer Approval Scheme provides recognised status for individuals providing childcare in a child’s own home. Whilst this type of childcare is not required by law to be registered, the checks undertaken by Health and Social Care Trusts (HSCT) provide a basic level of assurance for parents. Using an approved home childcarer also entitles parents to access childcare benefits and support that is made available by the Government.

What the scheme does

The Home Childcarer Approval Scheme:

  • verifies that the home childcarer has a relevant childcare qualification or has attended an induction course
  • verifies that the applicant has undergone suitable first aid training
  • confirms the identity of the home childcarer
  • undertakes a criminal records check, including the disqualification lists held by the Department of Health, (DoH) and the Department of Education (DE)
  • checks other HSC Trust records to make sure that there is nothing in the home childcarer’s background that suggests they are unsuitable to work with, or have unsupervised access, to children

What the scheme doesn't do

The Home Childcarer Approval Scheme does not:

  • verify whether the home childcarer is eligible to work in the UK
  • clarify the age group the home childcarer is suited to work with
  • check the medical history of a home childcarer
  • guarantee that parents using an approved home childcarer are entitled to financial support
  • remove the parent’s ultimate responsibility to make sure that home childcarers are individually suitable to look after their children
  • allow parents to claim childcare benefits and support if using relatives for approved home childcare

Employing a home childcarer

By employing an approved home childcarer: 

  • you know that they have been checked and met basic criteria
  • you know the home childcarer has some understanding of children’s needs and what to do in an emergency
  • you may get help to pay childcare costs
  • you can arrange to have your child looked after in your own home
  • you're responsible for the home childcarer's PAYE, terms and conditions of employment

If you are interested in employing a home childcarer, go to:

 Family Support NI  details all approved home childcarers listed on the public register of registered and approved childcare in Northern Ireland.

If you want to be a home childcarer

If you want to work as a home childcarer, you must:

  • be 18 or over
  • hold a childcare qualification or have attended a suitable induction course
  • have completed paediatric first-aid training
  • agree to a criminal records check, including a check of the disqualification lists held by DoH and DE and other HSC Trust records

To find out more about working as an approved home childcarer, go to:

You can also contact the Early Years Team in the local Health and Social Care Trust:

Childcare qualification and training

Home childcarers must have a relevant childcare qualification or have completed induction training before applying to become a home childcarer. Information on relevant training is available by contacting your local Childcare Partnership.  

Family Support NI

Family Support NI holds the Northern Ireland public register of all registered and approved childcare providers in Northern Ireland. You can use their website to search for registered and approved childcare in your local area.

Childcare Partnerships

Childcare partnerships give information and support to childcare providers, parents and employers.

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