Choosing childcare as a kinship carer

Things to think about when choosing a childcare setting as a kinship carer, including tips and questions to ask potential providers.

Choosing the right childcare is a big decision for you and the child you care for. Many kinship carers use different kinds of childcare as an important part of their support network. This guide takes you through what to consider when choosing childcare as a kinship carer.

Where to start with childcare

  1. Start looking for childcare early. Popular settings may have waiting lists, so it makes sense to be organised.
  2. Do your research. Our guide to childcare for kinship carers outlines the main types of childcare you can access.
  3. Draw up a shortlist. Are you looking at nurseries, childminders or wraparound care? Make a list of the settings that meet your family’s needs best.
  4. Visit the website and read the Ofsted report (OFSTED) of the childcare setting you are researching. All approved childcare settings are inspected by Ofsted, including childminders.
  5. Consider the days and times you need childcare. Is the setting close to your home or work?
  6. Talk to friends and other kinship carers in your local area. What do they recommend? Our peer support groups are a good place to start.

Visit childcare settings

Once you have done your research, arrange to meet childcare providers. It’s helpful to have a list of questions prepared that you can ask the setting you are considering.

  • What experience and qualifications do staff/carers have?
  • How much does it costs? What about extras like milk and nappies – are they included?
  • Which days and times are offered? Is there a minimum contract, and can you book half days or swap days?
  • What happens if things go wrong? What is the arrangement if are late for pick-up or your child is sick?
  • What types of contracts do they offer – term-time or year-round? What about holiday cover?
  • What kind of settling-in plan does the setting provide, to get the child you care for used to the environment and carer/s?

Trust your judgement

When deciding on childcare, trust your instinct during the visit. Does the setting meet your own standards, as well as those of Ofsted? The person or place may be different from what you imagined, but be led by what you see and feel while you are there. You may need to visit more than once to make your decision.

Support from Kinship

Here at Kinship, we offer a range of free support for all kinship carers, including workshops, online advice and information, and peer support groups.

Contact our advice service to speak to an adviser or book an appointment.