The Department for Education understands that some childminders in England are keen to join the many others who have signed-up to host people from Ukraine under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and Ukraine Family Scheme.

Where childminders wish to host people from Ukraine on premises where childminding does NOT take place (for example in a separate annex with its own entrance and facilities or at a separate address that is not used for childminding) there is no requirement for Ofsted or CMAs to check the people who would be living or working on those premises. As such, those childminders can simply decide whether or not to take part in these schemes and should follow the relevant scheme’s application process.

Where childminders wish to host people from Ukraine on premises where childminding DOES take place, the situation is more complicated. There is an existing legal requirement for specific checks on persons who are aged 16 and over living on premises where childminding takes place, which would include anyone coming from Ukraine.

In brief, documents from Ukraine to check criminal records are currently unavailable, which means the most likely outcome is that after several weeks or months of attempting to complete checks, Ofsted or the childminder agency (CMA) with which the childminder is registered will be unable to approve the individual(s) as suitable to live on the childminder’s registered premises where childminding takes place.

Where the individual (or individuals) from Ukraine finds themselves in this position, there would be only two options: the family or individual would have to move out of the childminder’s premises, which would not be helpful for the family or individual who will be settled in their new home; or the childminder would have to stop operating as a childminder to continue hosting the family or individual on the premises, which may not be desirable for the childminder.

Given these possible consequences of hosting a family or individual from Ukraine, the department recommends the following:

  1. Where childminders can talk to the family or individual from Ukraine beforehand (for example where the childminder knows the family or individual and can contact them personally, or where the childminder is engaging with an intermediary organisation that matches refugees with hosts) and can explain the likelihood that within a few months the family or individual may need to move out early (unless the childminder is prepared to stop childminding), the department recommends that childminders discuss this with the family or individual before agreeing a match. This way, the family or individual is given an opportunity to understand that they will probably need to move out early, and can make an informed choice before deciding whether or not to move into the childminder’s home. Where childminders do go ahead and host, they are reminded of the existing legal requirement that they must not allow people whose suitability has not been checked to have unsupervised contact with children being cared for.
  2. Where childminders would be hosting a family or individual from Ukraine that they have no means of contacting beforehand, the department recommends that childminders do not apply to be a host. This is because of the likelihood that a family or individual may have to move out of the childminder’s home in just a few months (unless the childminder is prepared to stop childminding) and the family or individual will not have been given an opportunity to have their say over decisions that could impact them significantly, for example whether they would be comfortable with the possible disruption to the lives (or their families lives) after settling with a host family. There could also be further disruption where they may have started work in a local area, or any of their children have started attending a local school, or they are in receipt of services (such as counselling) via the local authority.

Please note that, as childcare is a devolved matter, the information in this document relates to childminders in England only. Please contact the relevant administration for advice about how these schemes will apply to childminders in their country.

A PDF of this guidance is available here.