Plan for free childcare to help working parents in Cardiff
PLANS to introduce a Welsh Government scheme providing eligible working parents of three- and fouryear-olds in Cardiff with 30 hours of free early years education and childcare will be discussed next week.
The offer includes 12.5 hours of foundation phase nursery and 17.5 hours of childcare at a participating provider each week during term-time and 30 hours of childcare per week for nine weeks of the school holidays.
Parents in the “southern arc” of the city, in areas such as Grangetown and Butetown – where there is the highest proportion of children in families claiming working tax credits – are set to be the first recipients of the scheme during its initial rollout in September.
The council will then identify other areas for the second phase of the scheme from January next year.
Sarah Merry, Cardiff Council’s cabinet member for education, employment and skills, said: “The council wants to make sure that every child in the city has the best possible start in life, and through this offer, we have an opportunity to support children of working parents and help them access part-time early education places, through the provision of childcare.
“It is estimated that well over 1,000 children from working families in the city would benefit from the initial roll-out of the offer, significantly boosting the disposable income of those families and tying in with our capital ambition to tackle poverty and invest in life chances from an early age for all children, no matter where they live in Cardiff.”
The scheme aims to enable more parents, particularly mothers, to return to work, increase the disposable income of those in work and help counteract poverty for those in lowpaid jobs. The offer also aims to increase child development and school readiness.
Parents in Caerau and Ely, among other areas, would also benefit from the free childcare offer during the initial roll-out.
Cardiff Council’s cabinet will consider approving Cardiff as an Early Implementer Local Authority of the Welsh Government’s 30-hour childcare offer on Thursday. Councillor Graham Hinchey, cabinet member for children and families, said: “The council is committed to supporting families and by becoming an Early Implementer Local Authority, we can make an incredible difference to eligible working parents in the pilot areas we have identified.
“For many families, the cost of childcare can be a barrier for those who want to return to work.
“This offer would remove that barrier and provide more parents, particularly mothers, with the opportunity to get back to work.”