In September 2016 NICMA received part funding from the Health and Social Care Board, on behalf of the Childcare Partnerships, to carry out an independent study on the State of the Childminding Sector. NICMA believed this study was necessary in order to gain a full assessment of the sector to inform future planning for the organisation and influence policy makers. This is the first comprehensive assessment that has been carried out regarding childminding provision in Northern Ireland for some time.
The study is now complete and has generated both quantitative and qualitative data on all aspects of childminding practice. NICMA have sought to be realistic and consider how all recommendations stated can be achieved and what impact they will have on the childminding sector as well as the local economy. We believe all recommendations are seen as efficient and effective investments in the future of children across Northern Ireland. However, responsibility for this cannot be taken forward by NICMA alone. Tackling the main issues highlighted needs to be a shared one between a number of Northern Ireland Executive Departments as well as relevant stakeholders within early years.