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Frequently Asked Questions

pdf document Types of Childcare Provision
FAQ's for Parents
Questions to ask a Childcare Provider
Are you looking for Childcare?
When should you start thinking about childcare?
Out of School Clubs
Childminders
Playgroups / Cylchoedd Meithrin
Day Nurseries
Holiday Playschemes
Help with Childcare Costs
Nanny Agency

FAQ's for Parents

Below are some questions to consider after making your first visit to the potential childcare facility

Legal Requirements
  • Are you registered with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW)?
  • May I see your certificate?
  • Do you have public liability insurance?
  • May I see the certificate?
  • What was the date of your last annual inspection by CSSIW?
  • Have you read the CSSIW report?
Health and Safety
  • What evidence was there of security on the premises? (i.e. was the door locked?)
  • Was the number of children present within the limits of the registration certificate?
  • What procedures are there for emergency medical treatment and first aid?
  • Do you or any of your staff have a current First Aid Certificate?
  • Do you have a medication policy if my child requires medication?
Atmosphere
  • Were you and your child made welcome?
  • Did the other children look happy, interested, and lively?
  • Were there opportunities for your child to have individual attention – was he/she made to feel special?
  • Are there visible signs that children are enjoying themselves – e.g. Are the sessions stimulating, can you see happy faces, children’s pictures on the wall etc?
  • Will my child be given quiet time by her/himself if needed?
  • Is the facility flexible about a ‘settling in’ period for my child if needed?
Activities
  • Was there a varied programme of activities offered – is there variety and stimulation?
  • How is the day structured?
  • Did they offer indoor and outdoor activities?
  • What type of suitable toys for indoor/ outdoor activities did they have?
  • What use is made of the TV?
  • Are parents encouraged to help with any activities or trips?
  • Is there a quiet area for children to relax / sleep?
  • Do you have appropriate equipment and materials for children of all ages?
Premises
  • Were the premises clean, well ventilated, warm and safe?
  • How were children with special needs catered for?
  • Are the premises accessible and is parking available to parents?
  • How long have you been open?
Food
  • Is food provided?
  • Is it nutritious and varied?
  • Are they able to cater for your child’s individual dietary needs?
  • Does the food take into account different cultural backgrounds?
  • Are there weekly menu plans available?
  • Are meals/snacks included in the price?
Staff
  • Were the staff friendly and approachable?
  • What were the adults doing?
  • How did the adults talk to /listen to /interact with the children?
  • Were the children respected and understood by the adults, or ignored?
  • Were the children respected and understood by the adults, or ignored?
  • What qualifications do staff / carers have?
  • Are staff / carers offered further training?
  • What about toilet training and what if my child has an accident?
  • Will I have the opportunity to find out how my child is settling and progressing – are there any systematic ways of doing this?
Behaviour Management
  • How will my child be disciplined?
  • How do they handle difficult behaviour?
  • How do they encourage good behaviour?
  • Have staff been trained in behaviour management?
Costs
  • What is the cost to attend each session?
  • When do I have to pay?
  • Will I have to pay a retainer fee if my child is sick, or goes on holiday?
  • Will it be the full amount usually charged, or just a proportion?
  • Do they accept Childcare Vouchers?
Availability
  • What hours are you open?
  • Are you open term-time, holidays, week-ends, all year?
Equalities
  • How are children with special needs catered for?
  • Are boys and girls encouraged to use all the equipment?
  • What languages are spoken?
Policies
  • Is there a settling in period?
  • Is there a policy for sharing information with parents?
  • Did you receive an information pack which includes all the Policies and Procedures for the setting?
Points to Consider
  • Try to visit as many childcare facilities as possible before reaching a decision.
  • Is the setting registered with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW)?
  • Negotiate an agreement between yourself and the provider. When doing this, you may like to consider:
    • Cost – (how much and when is payment made, e.g. weekly / monthly).
    • Hours / sessions which your child will attend, retainer, period of notice.
    • Negotiate a settling in period of a few short visits before leaving your child for a longer period.
    • Were you given a contract and was this discussed?
    • Were you given time to read the contract before signing?
You are the customer and you have every right to ask as many questions as you like. You should feel that you have enough information to be able make the best decision for your child.
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Questions to ask a Childcare Provider

Choosing the best daycare for your family's needs is a difficult decision. The information below highlights the points you should consider and suggests some questions you may wish to ask a registered provider.

Are you looking for childcare?

Click here to launch the Carmarthenshire FIS (FIS) Search Facility

If you are unable to find information on childcare in your area, please contact the Carmarthenshire FIS on 01267 246555 or email ChildrenInfo@carmarthenshire.gov.uk for further information.

Information for Parents

Choosing Childcare in Wales booklet

To receive a hard copy, please contact the FIS.

Choosing childcare is a huge step for your family. There are a number of different childcare options in Carmarthenshire to choose from. Over the years, your family may use a range of childcare services, as they grow they will have different needs and your employment commitments may also change. To receive up-to-date details on childcare provision in Carmarthenshire, please contact the FIS.

Regulations & Registration

Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) has responsibility for the registration and inspection of all types of day care settings for children under 8 years of age. These services include childminders, playgroups, creches, day nurseries, out of school clubs and holiday play-schemes. Providers must be registered if they operate for more than 2 hours in one day or for more than 6 days in any one year. CSSIW decide who can provide services, inspect and make sure that the minimum standards are met and deal with complaints. For more information about policies and regulations:

Your nearest CSSIW Office in Carmarthenshire is:
Government Buildings
Picton Terrace
Carmarthen
SA31 3BT

Telephone: 01267 245160
Fax: 01267 242924
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When should you start thinking about childcare?

  • The sooner you find out about what is available, and how it will fit into your working life, the better.
  • Start by making a list of your top priorities, including your working hours and patterns, how much you can afford to pay and check out any extra financial help you may be entitled to (see 'Help with Childcare Costs')
  • You may want to think about location, your long-term plans, and what will suit your personality and parenting style.
  • Remember to consider your child's needs as well. Their age and developmental stage is crucial and should play a part in your choice. Your child needs to feel as confident as you do in your choice of care.
  • Remember to visit settings the possibility is that they may have a waiting list; therefore you should start looking as soon as you can.
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Out of School/Holiday Clubs



School aged children need safe care after school and during school holidays, right through the primary years and often into the first couple of years of secondary education.

Out-of-school clubs are usually based in or near schools, and some nurseries offer after school care too. Activities are planned so that your child can relax, learn, play and have fun with their friends. The pick-up time is usually 6pm, and some offer breakfast club facilities from 8am for parents who start work before school hours. Some services run before and after clubs, opening both in the morning and afternoon. Holiday Play-schemes are run in the school holidays, often by the same organisation, and offer extra activities and days out. All are regulated and inspected by the CSSIW and supported Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids Clubs.
Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids Clubs

Childminders

Childminders are self-employed professional day carers who work in their own homes to provide care and learning opportunities for other people's children, in a family setting. A childminder must be registered with the CSSIW, and he/she and any other adults (aged 16+) in their home are given a Disclosure and Barring Scheme (DBS) check. Childminders are registered to look after children under the aged of 8 and have appropriate skills and qualifications to meet the needs of the children. The Childminder will have completed an appropriate First Aid course which includes training in First Aid for infants and young children before commencing their childminding business and a current First Aid certificate is maintained.

Becoming a Childminder

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a childminder contact the Carmarthenshire FIS on 01267 246555 or
ChildrenInfo@carmarthenshire.gov.uk for more information.
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Cylchoedd Meithrin / Playgroups

Pre-school playgroups offer a safe and stimulating play environment for children aged between 2 - 5yrs, mostly in term time only. Some are also registered to provide early years education.

Playgroups must be registered with the CSSIW. Sessions are about two to three hours long, and the playgroup will run between two and ten sessions. Many are open five mornings a week, and some also run afternoon sessions. Their aim is that children learn and play in small groups and so learn to develop socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically.

Both the Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin and the Wales PPA support Cylch Meithrin's/playgroups in Carmarthenshire.
www.mym.co.uk
www.walesppa.org

Day Nurseries

Day Nurseries provide full day care and education for children from as young as six weeks to pre-school five year olds. Day Nurseries can be privately run, community, council or workplace services. However, they must all be registered and regularly inspected by the CSSIW, and must comply with strict guidelines on staff/children ratios. Staff must have, or be working towards, the relevant qualifications in childcare.

Most nurseries are open from Monday to Friday generally from 8am to 6pm, and some provide a pick up and drop off service providing wrap-a-round care for school age children.
National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)
www.mym.co.uk
www.walesppa.org
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Holiday Playschemes

Playschemes are fun, activity based "club" style childcare that runs during the holidays. Some concentrate on a certain sport: tennis or football, some are just a mixture of fun and games. Many are run by the local council and many are run privately, often by local parents or teachers. You can book by the day, or by the week.

For a list of available Playschemes contact the Carmarthenshire FIS on 01267 246555 or ChildrenInfo@carmarthenshire.gov.uk for more information.

Help with Childcare Costs

Paying for childcare

Child Tax Credit [CTC] helps most households with at least 1 dependent child, and an income of up to £58,000 a year. It is paid at a higher rate for households with at least one baby under 12 months. It is not paid for childcare provided by nannies and au pairs. Also, if you use informal childcare (eg. grandparent/aunt), the relation must register as a childminder to enable you to qualify for CTC.

The Carmarthenshire FIS has a range of up-to-date leaflets and helpsheets which give further information about the Tax Credits. The Tax Credits helpline on 0845 300 3900 can advise you on whether or not you are eligible for WTC and /or CTC, and can help you complete the application form if you are unsure. You can also check your eligibility and apply online by visiting the Inland Revenue website on:
www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/taxcredits

Daycare Trust - Paying for Childcare - Will help you to understand the different types of financial support you may be able to receive to help you with the costs of your childcare. The type of help you can receive will depend on your individual circumstances, but you can check to see whether there is any help available for you while you are working, studying, in training or if you have additional needs.
www.payingforchildcare.org.uk

Working Families - is a campaigning charity that supports and informs working parents and carers. It also works with employers to encourage them to reap the business benefits of helping their employees balance their work and home lives.
www.workingfamilies.org.uk

Nanny Agency

High Class Childcare Agency
www.hccagency.co.uk


If there is anything incorrect, out of date or you think could be included please email us: childreninfo@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, Carmarthenshire Family Information Service cannot accept responsibility or liability for any errors which may have occurred. It is recommended that you always check details with providers to ensure their service meets your requirements.

Carmarthenshire Family Information Service cannot recommend or endorse any of the providers listed.

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