Early Years Service

The primary responsibility of the Early Years Service within the Western Trust is the registration, support and inspection of day care provision for children aged under 12.  These services include childminders, playgroups, day nurseries, crèches, out of school provision and the approval of home child carers. Click on the titles below to view the relevant information:

The service is committed to raising the quality, range and accessibility of day care provision for children and their families.  This is pursued through working in partnership with families, providers and relevant agencies to ensure children benefit from safe, stimulating, caring experiences.  Childcare services are inspected at least once per year to ensure that standards are adhered to.

The following is a summary of the work carried out by the Early Years Teams:

  • Register, support and inspect childminders, playgroups, day nurseries, crèches, and out of school provision and SureStart Programme for Two Year Olds.
  • Approval of home child carers.
  • Offer training advice and support to existing and prospective day care providers and childminders and act as link social workers to each day care facility.
  • Liaise with statutory and voluntary agencies to raise the profile of high quality early years provision.
  • Maintain a register of all Early Years Day Care facilities in the Trust Area (name Trust).
  • Deal with the complaints about the standard of care in registered settings.
  • Identify areas of low provision within the Trust and work with voluntary agencies where appropriate in the development of new services.
  • Promote equality of opportunity through grant aid provision (if relevant in your Trust).
  • Encourage partnership with all those interested in supporting and developing early years services.
  • Promote equal access to all.
  • Provide information to parents and carers on the services available to them and their children.
  • Provide care for children in need through a sponsored day care scheme (if applicable in your Trust).
  • Review of the Early Years service through the Article 20 Review (Children (NI) Order 1995) every three years.

Download the HSC User Guide for Childminders (February 2014)

There are two Early Years teams within the Western Trust area whose offices are open from 9.00am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

 

 For Limavady, Derry & Strabane areas:
Clooney Hall Centre
36 Clooney Terrace
Londonderry
BT47 6AR
Tel: 02871 320950
Fax: 02871 320952  
  For Omagh area:
Community Services Dept
Tyrone & Fermanagh Hospital
1 Donaghanie Road
Omagh
BT79 0NS
Tel: 028 82835108
 
  For Fermanagh area:
Community Services Dept
2 Coleshill Road
Enniskillen
BT74 7HG 

Tel: 028 66344009 

 

If you are concerned about any children who are in the care of a childminder or a day care provider you can seek advice from or make a complaint to the Early Years team or speak to the safeguarding social workers at the Gateway service.

Familysupportni
It is the responsibility of the Early Years Service to maintain a register of all Early Years facilities in the Trust area.  This is a public document and can be made available to you by contacting your local Early Years Team.  Alternatively, most of this information is available on the Family Support website.  This website provides not only information on registered services, but also a range of other services available to support families.  This site provides information from statutory, voluntary and community organisations and will help families, young people, children and practitioners to find local services to meet their needs.

Day Care Registration
The Western Trust offers an application service for persons who wish to apply to become an Early Years Day Care provider in the Trust area.  Childcare providers must be over aged 18.  There are three types of childcare provider.

Childminder
Childminders are self-employed child care providers who work in their own homes to provide care and play for other peoples’ children in a family setting.  They offer this service all year round for the full working day or part of the day.  Childminders are required to register when they look after one or more children aged under twelve for reward on domestic premises for two or more hours.

Day Care Providers for children aged under twelve
Full Day Care is care for children for a continuous period of four hours or more in any day in premises that are not domestic.  The children do not have to attend for more than four hours, but if the facility is open for longer than this, it is defined as a full day care setting.

Sessional day care is defined as day care for children which covers less than a continuous period of four hours in any day and covers crèches, playgroups, out of school clubs (including breakfast clubs) and Sure Start Developmental Programme for 2-3 year olds.

Home Child Carer
A Home Child Carer is a person who cares for children (aged from birth to 17) in their own home or for two or more families, wholly or mainly at the home of one family at any one time.  If a person cares for children for three or more families at any one time, the law says they are no longer a Home Child Carer, but a childminder.  (Further information on becoming a home based carer will be provided below)

Who is required to register?
Under the Children (NI) Order 1995 you are required to register with your local Trust if you wish to provide a service as a childminder, set up a day nursery, playgroup, out of school club, crèche or a holiday club.

Under the current legislation you do not need to be and will not be registered if:

  • You are minding for less than two hours per day
  • Not minding for reward
  • Wish to care only for children of relatives
  • Minding in the child’s own home.

You are also not required to be registered if you are providing supervised activities such as these:

  • Uniformed organisations e.g. scouts
  • Religious activities
  • Leisure and recreational activities
  • Activities occurring in schools designed to enhance a child’s skills or attainments
  • Education tuition

However, if you have any doubts as to whether or not you are required to register, advice can be sought from your local Early Years Team.

The purpose of registration is:-

  • To protect children
  • To provide reassurance to persons using independent services who are arranging for their children to be cared for by someone who is not a relative and may be a stranger
  • To ensure that services meet an acceptable standard
  • To ensure that people wishing to provide services for children do so within an agreed framework.

What do I do if I want to become registered?
In order to become registered you must make an enquiry to your local Early Years Team.  This can be done by contacting the office by phone, on-line or in person and you will be given a guidance document on the registration process.  If you want to register as a childminder, you will be given information on attendance at a Pre-registration Briefing Session.

This service provides you with detailed guidance on the registration process and allows you to submit your application and other necessary documentation on-line.  Please note, however, there will be some documentation that will require your signature and will be required to be shared in person at the Early Years office.

Is there a charge to become registered?
Currently there is no charge for the Registration and Inspection process.  If this changes in the future, you will be notified.  For further information about additional costs, please see Guidance document.

Applying to become an Approved Home Child Carer
Guidance information and an application form to become a Home Carer can be obtained by contacting the Early Years Team or by applying on-line using the link below.

Alternatively, Employers for Childcare provide a service whereby they will help you through the application service, provide you with the necessary training and find you employment with a family (www.employersforchildcare.org).

The Trust Early Years team will still be responsible for carrying out the vetting and giving your final approval which will be reviewed on an annual basis.

If you have any questions about any of the information provided above, please contact your Early Years Team who will be happy to assist.


Registration Forms for Childminding


Registration Form for Sessional and Full Day Care


Child Minding and Day Care Vetting Guidance Forms


Early Years Inspection Forms for Childminding:


Early Years Inspection Forms for Sessional and Full Day Care: