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Families Should Get The Right Help About Childcare

Published: 12th March 2012 21:21

Panorama has highlighted the alarming costs of childcare.

BBC's Panorama has highlighted the alarming costs of childcare with some working parents allocating more of their monthly income to childcare costs than the mortgage on their house. One working mother spends as much as 80 per cent of her income on childcare.

Cllr Heather Timms, Warwickshire County Council's portfolio holder for children, has spoken of the importance of families getting the right help before they put their children into childcare.

Warwickshire County Council's Family Information Service has a list of childcare providers, enabling parents to see what is most conveniently available whether near to their house or on their route to work. Childcare information offered by the service includes opening hours, costs and contact details as well as the Ofsted ratings for reference.

The service also gives information about making childcare choices and about the different types of care available such as childminders, day nurseries, pre-schools and crèches.

It offers advice to help parents apply for free nursery education places and find out about financial support such as childcare vouchers and tax credits which help to meet the costs of raising a family.

Cllr Timms said:  "If children are in childcare for much of the working day, it is expensive.  If families need childcare for more than one child, clearly this can have a major financial impact.

"This is a critical choice for families and it is important that they take advantage of the expertise available to help them to make informed decisions and to ensure they are receiving all benefits they are entitled to.

"The Family Information Service has, among many other aspects of its work, the remit to research childcare in Warwickshire.  Their advice will help parents get the very best deal available."

The Panorama programme, entitled ‘The Rising Cost of Childcare', featured the problems faced by working families.  For one couple with a two year old at nursery and a five year old going to a child minder, the monthly cost of childcare was £750.  It established that the average cost of childcare over a week for five hours a day was £100, around £5,000 a year.

Reporter Shelley Jofre also highlighted how families are also feeling the pinch of childcare vouchers not going up in line with inflation and changes to the working tax credit system.

For further information on Warwickshire's Family Information Service and how it can advise parents or carers seeking childcare, call 0845 090 8044 or log ontohttp://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fis


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