Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice about childcare

Date published: 29 June 2020

Last updated: 03 February 2021

Access to childcare is currently (since 29 June 2020) available to any parent who needs it.

The restrictions introduced across Northern Ireland on 22 September 2020 permit both formal and informal childcare.


Formal childcare

If you need access to formal childcare:

  • check the Family Support NI website for information on available spaces 
  • if you cannot find a suitable option please call Parentline on: 0808 8020 400

Informal childcare

Informal childcare is valuable, trusted care provided by grandparents and close family. It is not to be confused with unregistered childcare, which is provided by those who are not formally registered but who charge a fee for their services. 

It is the commercial aspect of unregistered provision that distinguishes it from informal childcare. Operating as a childcare provider for reward without being registered with the local Health and Social Care Trust constitutes unregistered childcare and is not permitted under the Children (NI) Order 1995.

Other sources of support

Parents should continue to check the Family Support NI website for up-to-date information about childcare.

Employers For Childcare Family Benefits Advice Service has free, confidential and impartial advice setting out your best options for financial support, and what is the best choice for your family depending on your specific circumstances. You can contact an advisor by freephone or email as follows:

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