Childcare amongst friends isn’t unlawful

You’re not breaking the law if you have reciprocal childcare arrangements with a friend, Minister for Children set to announce

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The Minister for Children, Dawn Primarolo, is set to confirm that childcare arrangements between friends don’t need to be regulated, reports the Telegraph.

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Last year, two female police officers that job-shared and took it in turns to care for each other’s child were told they were breaking the law.

If adults care for a child for more than two hours a day, they’re required to register with Ofsted, undertake a criminal record check and learn first aid, amongst other things, because of rules that came into play with the Childcare Act 2006.

When the police officers, Detective Constables Leanne Shepherd and Lucy Jarrett, were banned from continuing their childcare arrangement, more than 20,000 people signed a petition objecting to the rules. Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary, then wrote to Ofsted, saying the law shouldn’t cover such understandings between parents.

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Ofsted felt the rules applied to parents if they were getting a “reward” for caring for another child – the “reward” here being that the parent gains the time to go to their job. Ed Balls, however, thought this wasn’t the right interpretation of the law. After a three-month consultation, Mr Balls stance will be confirmed, though the rules will still apply to parents who pay friends for childcare.

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