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Childcare Strategy

The Programme for Government 2011-15 commits the Executive to publish and implement a Childcare Strategy with key actions to provide integrated and affordable childcare.

Launch of the consultation on draft Childcare Strategy

In line with our Programme for Government commitment, Junior Ministers McIlveen and McCann have launched the Executive’s draft Childcare Strategy for public consultation.  Consultation will run for 16 weeks until 13 November 2015. A series of public consultation events have also been arranged:
The MAC, 10 Exchange Street West,
Belfast BT1 2NJ
9.30am - 12pm
The Braid, Ballymena Town Hall
1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena, BT43 5EJ
9.30am - 12pm
The Ballybot House, 28 Cornmarket
Newry, BT35 8BG
9.30am - 12pm
The Market Place Theatre, Market Street
Armagh, BT61 7BW
9.30am - 12pm
St Columbs Park House, 4 Limavady Road
Derry/Londonderry, BT47 6JY
9.30am - 12pm
The Tara Centre, 11 Holmview Terrace,
Omagh, Co. Tyrone, BT79 0AH
9.30am - 12pm
If you would like to attend one of these consultation events please reserve a place in advance of attendance in order to assist with our administration. Please register by email to: no more than 3 days before your chosen scheduled event. Please provide us with details of those wishing to attend (name, organisation and your contact details) and indicate which venue you propose to attend.
You can access the draft Strategy,  consultation questionnaire and associated documents via the links below:
The Executive’s Childcare Strategy has two main aims:
  • Developmental: to give all our children the best start in life, preparing them for lifelong wellbeing and achievement, thereby creating the basis for a better, more prosperous future
  • Employment: to enable parents to join the workforce, thereby enhancing prosperity and to improve gender equality by enabling mothers to join the workforce, return to work and remain in work.
These aims are supported by seven key objectives: availability, affordability, sustainability, diversity, quality, informed parental choice and an integrated approach.
In order to deliver on these aims and objectives, the draft Childcare Strategy proposes 22 actions on which we would like your views.  
You can contribute to the consultation process in the following ways:
  • By completing the consultation questionnaire
  • By submitting your views on the draft Strategy in writing.
  • By participating in one of the consultation events that will shortly be announced.

School Age Childcare Grant Scheme

The Bright Start School Age Childcare Grant Scheme was launched on the 27 March 2014 and aims to create or sustain school age childcare provision - breakfast clubs, after school clubs and summer schemes aimed at the 4-14 age group. To date, OFMDFM has held two calls for applications. A third call for funding is proposed for late 2015 and will focus, in particular, on assisting new childcare provision.
To register your interest in the third call for funding, please fill in the below expression of interest form and send to the contact details listed on the form. Further information can be obtained by contacting
Health and Social Care Board
Adele Mooney, Gransha Park House,
15 Gransha Park, Clooney Road,
Londonderry, BT47 6FN
Telephone: 028 9052 2904

Related publications

Bright Start - A Strategic Framework and Key First Actions

In September 2013, Bright Start - The Executive's Programme for Affordable and Integrated Childcare (A Strategic Framework and Key First Actions) was published and set out the framework, principles and a range of key first actions to help deliver the Executive’s vision for childcare.
You can access the document via the link below:

Towards a Childcare Strategy

In December 2012, OFMDFM published 'Towards a Childcare Strategy' for consultation. The consultation closed on 5 March 2013. During the consultation period, the Department received 65 written responses and organised a series of public consultation events.
You can download the consultation document, a summary of the written responses and a summary of the main issues raised at the public consultation events using the links below.

Published Research

Contact us

For further information please contact:
Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister
Childcare Unit
Room E3.18
Castle Buildings
Stormont Estate
Belfast BT4 3SR
Telephone: 028 9076 5786 or 028 9052 8659

Useful links...