One million parents suffering child care ‘crisis’

Image copyright EPA Image caption A data set compiled by university researchers supports the claims of more than one million parents

More than one million parents are being affected by a growing hiring crisis in child care in Britain, a new report has found.

It warns of a “daycare crisis” as paid schemes dry up and it leaves parents and their young children to fill the gap, with low pay.

There is a shortage of 13,000 child care places in England.

The Department for Education says it will double the number of places from 2012-13 by 2020-21.

The survey by University of Oxford researchers looked at child care applications made over a year between 2013 and 2014.

They said a number of councils were stopping their services and local providers were shutting down.

It warned that jobs, currently being provided by 18,000 families, could vanish.

Thousands of local authorities had a surplus of places, but as a result local councils are unable to give paid places to parents when they need them.

Image copyright Jeff J Mitchell Image caption The report said social care, library and care home staff are also affected by the situation

The research found that the squeeze would affect one million children and their families, ranging from impoverished older people, to retired teachers, social workers and care home staff.

It warns that councils will be obliged to provide more places, but they will not always be qualified in child care.

Lack of paid care could leave parents with their children for longer at home, which could affect children’s learning, health and wellbeing.

They would also lose out on the very jobs they were seeking, according to the report.

Results based on information from over 34,000 child care providers in the English Health Survey 2013, reported that 8,680 percent, or 7.6%, of facilities were closed over the period.

And 70 percent had adult-only spaces, but with no children under five.

The Department for Education said the issue was now being addressed.

“Childcare provision is a vital service that all children rely on and we know we need to do more to address gaps in provision.

“Over the last two years, we have doubled the number of local councils committed to providing more child care places, and we know how important care and education are to child development.”

Correspondent: Catherine Ramsbotham, BBC News

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