Report shows impact of investment.
More parents have been able to start work or progress their careers thanks to an initiative to expand access to school-age childcare, according to a new report.
Eight childcare providers across Scotland received a share of almost £600,000 from the Scottish Government to help 650 children from low-income families access school-age childcare.
The funding helped to make school-age childcare more accessible, affordable and flexible for parents and carers from low-income families, or those most at risk of experiencing poverty.
The Access to Childcare Fund Phase 2 Evaluation report also highlights the positive impact the projects had on the health and wellbeing of the children and parents. It found the projects increased opportunities for children to develop social skills and strengthen relationships with both adults and peers, especially for those with additional support needs.
Children and Young People Minister Natalie Don said:
“As we mark Challenge Poverty Week this report highlights the impact our support continues to make for children, young people and their families who are most in need, and how childcare providers can be key in supporting these families.
“Improving access to childcare not only brings wide ranging benefits for the children, it also helps parents to get back into work, engage in training or progress their careers. Quality childcare provision is both an anti-poverty and a pro-growth measure.
“This report follows our commitment in the Programme for Government to expand our childcare offering, and sets out the difference that funded school-age childcare can make to support families to enter and sustain employment.”
Currently, all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds are able to take up 1,140 hours of funded early learning and childcare in Scotland. Work is underway with local authorities and other partners to phase in an expanded national provision for families with two-year-olds, as well as targeted early delivery of all-age childcare for low income families.
The full report was carried out independently by Ipsos Scotland.
The funded childcare providers are:
- Hame Fae Hame
- St Mirin’s Out of School Care
- The Indigo Childcare Group
- SHIP (Support, Help and Integration in Perthshire)
- Clyde Gateway
- Stepping Stones for Families
- The Wee Childcare Company
In addition to the Access to Childcare Fund, the Scottish Government continued to fund two pilot projects with the Scottish Childminder Association (SCMA) and Ayr United Football Association (AUFA) between 2022-23, which are included in this report.
The Scottish Childminder Association aimed to develop their Community Childminding model to deliver childminding placements that supported parents and carers to transition towards employment. AUFA provided an after-school and holiday programme in the most deprived part of South Ayrshire.
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