Refugees and childcare and play
Advice for childcare providers and local authorities on childcare for refugees.
In this page
Guidance for childcare providers
I am a childcare provider and want to help people who are refugees, such as those coming from Ukraine
We understand that people are eager to help people seeking sanctuary in Wales, including those who are coming from Ukraine, and this is very much in the spirit of us all ensuring that Wales is a “nation of sanctuary” for all refugees. Our vision is of a Wales wherever people seeking sanctuary go, they are met with a welcome, understanding and celebration of their unique contribution to Welsh life. If you would like to get involved, visit Wales: Nation of Sanctuary
The needs of any child or young person already living in your home and the children for whom you provide registered childcare remains of utmost importance and their welfare or experience should not be overlooked and should be taken in to account in any decisions that are made. Everyone living in a household should be involved in decisions around becoming a sponsor family.
We must also consider the safety of the refugee. Modern slavery is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. Refugees and other displaced people are especially vulnerable to being caught up in modern slavery practices.
Victims of modern slavery can be any age, gender, nationality, or ethnicity. They are tricked or threatened into work and may feel unable to leave or report the crime through fear or intimidation. They may not recognise themselves as a victim.
See more information and links to further resources about identifying modern slavery and what to do on GOV.UK and Modern Slavery & Exploitation on Wales Safer Communities
Can I welcome a refugee into my home and continue to provide registered childcare? What do I need to know in terms of security checks?
Yes. You can house a refugee but you will need to ensure they have undergone a vetting procedure which complies with the regulatory requirements as you would with any other household member.
In the case of those from Ukraine, all applicants for the Homes for Ukraine scheme must meet some basic pre-departure security checks. These checks will be led by the Home Office. All those who are successful will have an initial visa allowing them to live and work in the UK for six months, during which they will need to provide biometric details at a visa centre in the UK. Once applicants have done this, their visa will be extended to three years.
The Home Office will also lead on background checks in relation to the lead sponsor and all adults in the household where the person (or people) arriving from Ukraine will stay, to help keep everyone safe. The lead sponsor in a household will need to seek the consent of all adults in the household to provide their details on the application form for these checks.
Shortly after the individual or family arrives from Ukraine, your local authority will complete some basic checks on the accommodation and living arrangements. If you are hosting within your own home, your local authority will seek assurances that appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service checks have been completed for all members of your household who are 16 or over.
If you are a registered child minder, there will be some other important steps which you must take to ensure that we minimise any risk of harm to the children in your care.
If the people you are sponsoring are aged 16 or over and you are hosting them within your own home, you must:
- familiarise yourself with the Welsh Government’s Homes for Ukraine: guidance for sponsors, particularly in terms of how you can support individuals who have been exposed to distressing events
- request a DBS check for the people from Ukraine and any other refugee and provide written confirmation to CIW that this has been done. This may not be straightforward in the short term and CIW can support with this process as appropriate; Advice on applying for a DBS check can be found here: Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks | Care Inspectorate Wales
- When applying for a DBS check, the DBS’ ID guidelines do make it possible for immigration and ‘documents from local or central government that demonstrate entitlement to benefit’ to be submitted for ID purposes. These documents, alongside ID provided by the Home Office should meet the DBS criteria (www.gov.uk)
- If the person is a Ukrainian national in the UK and needs assistance, they can contact UKVI on +44 (0)808 164 8810 – select option 2. Lines are open Monday to Thursday (excluding bank holidays), 9am to 4:45pm and Friday (excluding bank holidays), 9am to 4:30pm. This is a free phone number, but network charges may still apply.
- DBS screening checks UK records and would be relevant for those people who may have spent time in the UK previously. While the DBS system does have some information sharing agreements with some countries, this is limited.
DBS checks are UK only, are there any other checks I could ask a refugee who I welcome into my home to undertake to enable me to continue to provide registered childcare?
- Ask the person to apply for a criminal record check. The application process for criminal records checks or ‘Certificates of Good Character’ for someone from overseas varies from country to country. Individuals can apply in the country or to the relevant embassy in the UK. See Guidance on applying for criminal records checks for overseas applicants on GOV.UK.
- In the case of those from individuals from Ukraine this would be via the Ukrainian Embassy. More information can be found here: Countries Q to Z: applying for a criminal records check for someone from overseas - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) The individual will require an electronic signature in order to make their application. The requested information will be emailed to them in Ukrainian. After receiving an extract in Ukrainian language, they will need to apply for a confirmation letter from the Ukraine Embassy, these documents can be translated by a third party.
- For Ukrainians who do not possess an electronic signature, applications must be made in person at the Consular Section of the Ukrainian Embassy in London. A valid passport is required as proof of ID and should be presented on the day. Applicants are expected to provide the Consular Section with the applicant’s former address(es) in Ukraine. Enquiries can be made via email@example.com
What do I need to tell CIW?
- while a DBS check or criminal record check is being requested for any new member to your household, assure yourselves about the suitability of all household members without such checks living, working or having regular contact with minded children
- provide a written undertaking to CIW that you will ensure:
- you make reasonable enquiries with the individual/s to confirm that there is nothing of relevance in their criminal history to a household where there are minded children
- the person is not left unsupervised with minded children
- parents of minded children are informed in advance of the presence of any new household member/members and the limitations of the records checking arrangements
- all requirements concerning the maximum number of minded children in the household at any one time are met, e.g. take account of any new children in the household
- notify CIW of plans to provide a home for someone from Ukraine through your online account; as would be the case for any other new household members including refugees
You can provide a home for anyone under the age of 16 without this impacting on your child minding business, other than the requirement under 4 above.
If you are a registered provider of day care providing care for children at a premises which is different from the premises where you plan to host people you are sponsoring from Ukraine or any other refugees , you must:
- in the case of those refugees from Ukraine familiarise yourself with the Welsh Government’s Homes for Ukraine: guidance for sponsors
- notify CIW of plans to provide a home for a refugee
- make reasonable enquiries with the individual/s to confirm that there is nothing of relevance in their criminal history to a household of a person who provides childminding or day care services
Is there any financial support to help with DBS checks?
There is no financial support to help with DBS checks. If there is going to be a new person in your household, it will be for you to apply for a DBS check and meet the costs associated with those checks.
I am a registered child minder and want to be funded to provide the Childcare Offer for a child from Ukraine who is now living at the same address as myself.
You can be funded to provide care for a child from Ukraine or a child of any other refugee who is not related to you as long as:
- you are registered with CIW as a child minder
- you are signed up with your local authority to deliver the Offer
- the child and the parent/s meet the eligibility criteria for the Offer
If you are related to the child in any way, you can still be funded to provide care for the child under the Childcare Offer as long as the above conditions are met and as long as you do not have parental responsibility for the child.
In all circumstances, you must ensure that you can still meet the adult:child ratio requirements in the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare. The ratios include any children under the age of 12 on the premises including your own children and any others for whom you are responsible.
I am a nanny, what do I need to do?
If you work for a family who are sponsoring someone from Ukraine or housing any other refugee family and they live in the same household as the children you care for, you should discuss with your employer/the children’s parents to see if there are additional steps you need to take to safeguard the children in your care.
Guidance for local authorities
Will families coming in to the UK be eligible for the Childcare Offer?
As Wales is a Nation of Sanctuary, any person living and working here can access the funded childcare delivered under the Childcare Offer if they meet the wider eligibility criteria. This includes those from other countries who are resident in Wales where they have a right to remain and a right to work.
Families coming into Wales from Ukraine will be granted a UK Government visa, giving them permission to work in the UK. They will be able to access the Offer, provided both parents in a two-parent family, or one parent in a single parent household, are working or are enrolled on a Higher or Further Education course, and they meet the wider eligibility criteria.
What happens if we receive applications for the Childcare Offer from two different families living at the same address?
It is possible that there will be households in Wales wanting to access the Offer who are made up of both a sponsor family and a Ukrainian family. In these cases the families would be considered as two separate households.
This means that where a sponsor family is already accessing the Offer, sponsoring a Ukrainian family will not impact their ongoing eligibility. Where a sponsor family applies for the Offer, the fact that they are sponsor a Ukrainian family should not be taken in to account when assessing their application.
Where a Ukrainian family who is being sponsored applies for the Offer, the fact that they are living with another family should not be taken in to account when assessing their application.
Will families coming in to the UK be eligible for the Additional Support Grant?
Where a child of a Ukrainian family or any other refugee family requires additional support to be able to access the Offer, provided the family is eligible to access the Childcare Offer, they would also be able to access the Additional Support Grant (ASG).
It is possible that the child’s needs may be complicated by other issues, such as language barriers or trauma. When considering an application under the ASG, local authorities take account of these wider needs and should ensure join up of all relevant support programmes that are available for children and families, and specifically for refugee families including those from Ukraine.
When applying for the Childcare Offer, what information should a refugee family be required to provide?
Refugee families will need to provide evidence to demonstrate that they are eligible for the Offer. This includes information about where they live, the age of their child and their employment status. However, it’s likely that some of this information may not be readily available, for example, their children’s birth certificate.
The list below details the evidence that would suffice, however local authorities should use discretion where the evidence required is not readily available and should take a wider range of information into account.
Evidence to be provided, where possible:
- Proof of the child’s age – ideally this will be the birth certificate, but where this is not possible other formal documentation could be used where it shows the child’s age, for example a passport or a visa.
- Evidence of parental responsibility – ideally this will be one of the following - Child Benefit letter; Tax Credits letter; letter from Nursery Admissions; or, child’s medical record/red book.
- Proof of address – ideally this will be a recent utilities bill, council tax statement or bank statement dated within the last 3 months. Where this is not possible, any official correspondence may be provided instead.
- Proof of income – for an employee this will ideally be 3 months of pay slips, but where this is not possible a letter from their employer could be provided instead.
- Proof of enrolment into Higher or Further Education – most universities and Further Education Institutions (FEIs) will provide a confirmatory letter or email of enrolment which confirms the details of course. This should be followed up, once the course has started, with confirmation of attendance from the university or FEI.
- Proof of self-employed earnings – ideally this will be a copy of accounts, letter from their accountant or their latest Self-Assessment Tax Return including unique tax reference (UTR) number. Where they have been self-employed for less than 12 months, an HMRC letter showing the UTR number and date of registration is acceptable.
- Proof of exception – ideally this will be a copy of a benefit statement or a letter from their employer confirming their leave from work e.g. for maternity, parental or statutory sick leave.