The amount of free child care hours offered to parents in Rotherham in set to rise.
Rotherham Council is set to increase free child care to 30 hours a week from September.
Parents and carers are currently entitled to 15 hours free child care for three and four-year-olds.
Now the council is embarking on a consultation process to find out how many families want to take up the offer, so it can ensure there is enough capacity across private and maintained settings in the borough.
The extra hours of child care will make it easier for parents to be able to work while reducing the burden of rising childcare costs on their earnings.
The council has a statutory obligation to secure sufficient childcare and early education places to meet the needs of parents, with funding coming from the Department of Education.
Ian Thomas, Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services at Rotherham Council said: “Rising childcare costs can be a barrier which prevents some parents, and particularly mothers, from working.
“We now need to make sure the places which may be needed are available and parents have access to this, should they want it. Our commitment as part of our corporate plan is to ensure we give every child the best start in life, and this begins before they even start school.”
He added the council would also be making sure the offer for free places for vulnerable two-year-olds are still maintained at settings across the borough alongside these new free places.
“Juggling childcare and work is something which many parents and carers experience every day," he added.
“We now just have to make sure it is delivered in the fairest way possible to families while also supporting the businesses who deliver child care services.”
The council will look specifically at innovative ways of making sure childcare is accessible to as many parents as possible, with the aim of removing significant barriers to parents taking up their entitlement.
To take part in the consultation, which will run for a month, visit www.rotherham.gov.uk/homepage/64/open_consultations
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