The Childcare Partnerships within the Health & Social Care Board and the Department of Education jointly hosted a Sure Start event on the 25th January 2018 in Belfast City Hall, to celebrate the Importance of the Early Years for children and families across Northern Ireland. The event brought together 180 professionals from a range of statutory, voluntary, community organisations and elected representatives to celebrate the work of Sure Start and to launch the findings of a Sure Start Parental Survey.
This 5 year campaign will begin in November 2017, and focus on a healthy weight for children and ‘will aspire to be a society-wide movement that will inspire and support parents to start building and persisting with healthy lifestyle habits’.
This is a critical time for parents to make an informed choice about what form of financial support to access to assist them with their childcare costs. The government has introduced a new form of support, Tax-Free Childcare, while the Childcare Vouchers scheme is currently due to close to new entrants only in April 2018. This means that, in order to benefit from that scheme, parents will need to have signed up to it before then. Some families will be better off using Tax-Free Childcare (approximately 30%), while others will be better off using Childcare Vouchers, Tax Credits, or a combination of both (approximately 70%). It can be complex working out what is best in each individual situation, so to make the best choice for their family, we recommend that parents read our Big Changes, Big Choices guide and call our Family Benefits Advice Service on freephone 0800 028 3008 for advice.
Please click here to download: Big Changes, Big Choices guide