More and more childcare settings in Wales are struggling with the cost of delivery and face issues in recruiting staff. Watching the BBC Wales News last night, one setting was claiming that the cost of keeping the heating and lights on, paying RLW, rolling out the new framework and catching up on staff training due to the pandemic has increased their costs by around £40k per year. I believe that this is a realistic figure that most settings will face.
Although the free child care offer is helpful and very much welcomed by parents, settings are faced with putting up their fees to try and meet this increase in delivery costs. That is a difficult decision to make by charging already over stretched families due to the cost of living crisis with some families stating that it is in fact cheaper to stay at home and not send their children to the setting. This of course has an emotional cost to both the children and their parents and will without doubt close many settings.
Childcare staff put such a huge effort everyday in energising the children and caring for their wellbeing, it is heartbreaking that we are faced with our younger citizens missing out on the excitement of childcare whilst families and businesses struggle to get though a time that has no obvious end in sight.
If only we could further develop intergenerational support by utilising an ageing population who feel that they continue to have so much to offer and the bucket loads of wisdom that they could share with our young friends. Managing regulations around qualified staff is already a challenge, but having unqualified volunteers with strong verification checks and management may be the only way of keeping those child care opportunities open and affordable.