Launch of ‘Believe in Childcare?’
20/03/2014A report into the childcare needs of ethnic minority communities in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust area has been launched at Brownlow Community Hub by OFMDFM Junior First Minister Jennifer McCann MLA.
The ‘Believe in Childcare?’ report was carried out by Barnardo’s NI and NICEM (NI Council for Ethnic Minorities) and involved over 300 families from 25 countries who are currently living in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust area.
Report author Dr Donna Kernaghan from Barnardo’s NI said: “Affordable childcare is recognised as a key component towards supporting parents into work and reducing poverty amongst children. Our study revealed that many ethnic minority parents in the Southern Trust area rely on informal childcare arrangements because formal childcare is expensive and does not offer the flexibility needed, particularly for parents working shifts and zero-hours contracts. The report recommends these issues should be addressed within an overarching childcare strategy for Northern Ireland. ”
Mark Caffrey from NICEM highlighted the value of working closely with community members from ethnic minority backgrounds: “There are large number of families from ethnic minority communities across the Southern Trust area and we spoke directly to many of them through focus groups and questionnaires to establish a clear picture of their childcare needs and issues. The results reveal a need for more flexible and affordable childcare arrangements, improved information on how to access childcare provision and more opportunities for members of ethnic minority communities to become registered childminders.”
Junior Minister Jennifer McCann said: “Good quality childcare helps parents get into work and getting a job with a decent wage is a tried and tested pathway out of disadvantage. By providing more and better childcare services, we can help more people to get into employment and begin to improve their quality of life. Childcare is good for parents who want to work, or to study or to train for work or to start their own businesses.
“I commend Barnardo’s and NICEM and everyone involved in the ‘Believe in Childcare?’ research report. The issues identified in this research will feed into our overall childcare strategy. This report will help us as we work towards removing barriers which may prevent parents, and children, from reaching their full potential.”
Paul Morgan, Director of Children and Young People’s Services from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, said: “The Southern Trust welcomes this report. I would like to thank Barnardo’s NI and NICEM for producing it and the parents and Trust staff who contributed so positively to the process. As the area with the largest ethnic minority population in Northern Ireland this report will provide us with an opportunity to focus on meeting the childcare needs of children and their families from ethnic minority communities. We recognise the challenges in working collaboratively with parents and colleagues in the voluntary, community, statutory and the early years sector in meeting these needs through quality and affordable childcare.”
The report can be found at http://bit.ly/1klThd6