Thousands of parents will no longer have to pay expensive upfront childcare deposits under a pilot scheme delivered by Early Years Scotland (EYS).
Families who use either a childminder or nursery before their children become eligible for publicly-funded childcare, usually at age three, can be asked to pay a deposit of as much as £900.
In Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Government will cover that cost for eligible families until December 2019 through a deposit guarantee. Almost half (44%) of parents in the pilot areas with a child under two who are taking up childcare for the first time can benefit from the scheme.
Childcare Minister Maree Todd announced the pilot during a visit to North Edinburgh Childcare.
Ms Todd said:
“As well as giving every child the best start in life, the Scottish Government’s plans to almost double funded early learning and childcare will save families an average of £4,500 per child per year by 2020.
“This deposit guarantee trial will benefit parents - especially those returning to work or training - who often face crippling upfront costs to access childcare before their funded entitlement kicks in. We will work closely with NHS Health Scotland to evaluate its impact to inform any future decisions on national roll-out.”
Karen Williams works at North Edinburgh Childcare, where her two children attended nursery. She said:
“The deposit guarantee scheme would have made a big difference to my family – we found it difficult to afford the upfront costs when my baby started nursery, as we had to pay both a deposit and upfront fees.”
The scheme will be open to those in pilot areas in receipt of tax credits or Universal Credit with a child aged 0-2 who is taking up an early learning and childcare place for the first time, approximately 44% of families with a child aged 0-2.
EYS will deliver the pilot and the Scottish Government will work closely with NHS Health Scotland to evaluate it.
Further details can be found on the website that has been developed for families and providers here: http://dgs.earlyyearsscotland.org
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