MK Council has launched a new childcare deposit scheme to help struggling parents who wish to return to work.
The pilot scheme will cover the up-front costs associated with childcare such as admin fees, deposits, and payment in advance.
These costs are unaffordable to some and can present a significant barrier to these parents and carers returning to work. Without them, often a childcare placement cannot be secured.
Payments will be made by directly from Milton Keynes Council to the childcare provider upon confirmation of a job offer.
Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet member for children and families, said: “For some parents, particularly single adults, the up-front costs of childcare keep them trapped in poverty. We recognise this problem and want to break the cycle for those affected."
She added: "All families in MK should have the opportunity to build a family and a career without sacrificing one for the other. This trial deposit scheme will form a part of the wider childcare support already available locally.”
The new childcare deposit scheme was conceived by the Child Poverty Commission and is funded by the council. The Child Poverty Commission was set up last year and is made up from local people across Milton Keynes.
More details on the scheme, including the full criteria for eligibility and how to apply for the support, will be made available shortly. It does not include less formal childcare such as breakfast and after school clubs.
There is a range of existing financial support available for parents and carers, funded by the Department for Education (DfE). These include:
* Disadvantaged 2-year-old funding (15 hours per week). If family circumstances change after initial eligibility i.e. a parent starts work, funding continues until they are 3 years old.
* 3 and 4-year-old universal funding (all children) - 15 hours per week.
* 3 and 4-year-old funding – an additional 15 hours per week for working families. A family in this case may be entitled to an additional 15 hours of funded childcare.
* Adjustments to universal credit or housing benefit as the cost of childcare can be disregarded from earnings as part of the calculations.
There is more information on childcare funding support here.