Our children's welfare must always come first and carers need support to make that happen
We have just had the first all-party political panel discussion on the topic of early years since the formation of the current Government in May 2016, an event hosted by the Children's Rights Alliance. When we say early years, we're talking about the education and care children receive in childcare services, pre-school, after-school, as well as through childminding.
This is an area that is undergoing a lot of reform right now. Many parents already avail of the two free pre-school years for their children and are aware that an affordable childcare scheme, which subsidises childcare costs for parents, is coming down the tracks. Parents are crippled with these costs so this is a positive step.
At the same time parents are also looking for reassurance on these reforms, including the proposed regulation of childminders. Parents have told me they're concerned that regulation will cost them more financially and make life more complicated as they juggle their family's busy lives.