A CHILDMINDING scheme in the Borders has been hailed as ‘a fantastic example of local, flexible support ‘ by Children and Young People’s Minister Aileen Campbell MSP.
Ms Campbell was speaking about the Scottish Borders Supported Childminding Scheme, which offers funded childcare to families experiencing short term vulnerabilities such as postnatal depression, illness or bereavement.
She took the opportunity to meet with childminders working within the scheme when she opened the Borders Childminding Conference at Newtown St Boswells on Saturday, March 9.
Ms Campbell heard how the initiative takes referrals from health visitors, social workers and family support workers to ensure that families get early support in an attempt to prevent situations from becoming more serious.
Maggie Simpson, chief executive of the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) explained: “The community childminding scheme in the Scottish Borders offers placements with childminders which are typically eight hours per week for up to six months.
“Enabling people to access childcare for even two short sessions per week can make the difference between a family surviving or falling apart.
“Families who use the service to get them through a short term crisis have reported reduced stress, and children who are happier, better behaved and who have enjoyed increased opportunities for play and socialisation with peers.”
Ms Campbell said: “Community childminding is a fantastic example of local, flexible support which can make all the difference to families facing difficulties. We are committed to ensuring that all parents get the support they need to help them do their very best for children in their care. That’s why we have invested £18 million in improving family support across Scotland.”
The Borders scheme is funded by Scottish Borders Council and delivered by SCMA. Similar services are available in some other areas such as Fife and Aberdeen, but SCMA would like to see parents across Scotland able to access the same type of support.
Ms Simpson added: “Any family can find themselves in a situation of crisis – perhaps through postnatal depression, social isolation, or because of poor mental or physical health.
“Supporting people through the crisis and helping a family to function when at this stage is crucial in preventing them needing to access more expensive and higher level interventions at a later stage. Scottish Borders Council was one of the first local authorities to invest in such a scheme.”