MSE News: Minister answers concerns on lone parent benefits

edited 27 December 2010 at 3:51AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
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  • My (lone parent) best friend wanted to be a childminder....trained for months and had people banging on her front door asking for their kids to be looked after when she was registered.

    Care Commission wouldn't sign her off until she had a mains working smoke alarm.

    Council wouldn't do it as there was 'no money in the budget'.

    Care Commission refused my BFF offer to pay for it to be installed herself.

    Council still said they had to budget.

    So after 16 months of training it all came down to a smoke alarm.


    She now works as a school cook.

    So it's not always easy just to 'set up' as a childminder...plus the fact, it seems to be the common myth that if you are a lone parent, but want to make sure you are doing right by your child, that you should work with children!!!! Job done.....NOT!!
  • KimitatsuKimitatsu Forumite
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    DX2 wrote: »
    So tell me just how many childminders do you know that will look after disabled children and just how many childminders/after school clubs do you know that cater for disabled children? So you see until these are sorted some lone parents do have a right to refuse until things are just right.
    LondonDiva wrote: »
    Why not set up as a childminder, or look into setting up a nursery, working in a nursery, running an after school or holiday club?

    Allparents face the childcare issues - the issues around provision are not exclusive to single parents, it's just that single parents / those on low incomes get supported access to clubs etc.

    I have a childminder from heaven - but she only went into childminding as she has a child with a disability. When she wanted to return to work (and she is married btw) then the only childcare she could find wanted double the rate due to a disability. Now her child is not severely disabled to look at him you would think that he was like every other child of his age so there are not care issues involved.

    Now that childminders have come under Ofsted rulings, her paperwork has trebled. Even down to things such as she has to log how many times a day on average that she wipes the work surface down as she feeds the children in her care. She herself says that as a business it is not worth the money for the time that she puts in, and it is great as a second income. For me I couldnt work without her, but she is a seasoned pro having been a childminder for more that 12 years and so knows the rules and regulations.

    It is not easy to set up as a childminder and so whilst I agree there is a gap in the market, there is little help to plug that gap whether you are single or part of a couple. If you are part of a couple then there are two of you to carry out childcare, two of you to bring in an income, two of you to take on the repsonsibility of finances, and rearing a child.


    FBaby - not all of us have the option to do as you did. Moving from an area which you know, and can afford to an area where you know nothing, no one and have no support is not always an option. As you said you did it as part of a couple so you had all of that support with you all of the time.

    I welcome any change to an outdated and antiquated system which has been implemented with little thought in the past, but please can we have a point where the long term issues are thought of and planned for rather than the sticking plaster methodology which is currently in place?
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  • I see that yet again, the questions she chose to answer were cherry picked. I do appreciate that not all of the questions can be answered, but it was the most important ones querying how the barriers which exist will be tackled to enable working, that she has chosen to ignore.
  • Loopy_Girl wrote: »
    My (lone parent) best friend wanted to be a childminder....trained for months and had people banging on her front door asking for their kids to be looked after when she was registered.

    Care Commission wouldn't sign her off until she had a mains working smoke alarm.

    Council wouldn't do it as there was 'no money in the budget'.

    Care Commission refused my BFF offer to pay for it to be installed herself.

    Council still said they had to budget.

    So after 16 months of training it all came down to a smoke alarm.


    She now works as a school cook.

    So it's not always easy just to 'set up' as a childminder...plus the fact, it seems to be the common myth that if you are a lone parent, but want to make sure you are doing right by your child, that you should work with children!!!! Job done.....NOT!!

    How much would it have cost her to get it installed?
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  • How much would it have cost her to get it installed?

    Not much....but the CC and the council both said she wasn't allow to hire someone qualified to do it - it HAD to be the council who did it as it is a council property.
  • julie2710julie2710 Forumite
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    As a single parent to 2 young boys. I would like to say that the main issue is cost of childcare! I have worked full-time all my life, went back to work when the youngest was 18 weeks old. I am not in a position to move to a cheaper area so my mortgage and the cost of childcare take up about 90% of my salary! My childcare is a whopping £200 per week!!!! Standard cost in this area tbh!

    I need to earn a good wage to be able to afford to cover that cost but because I earn a good wage I will now be losing my CTC and in the future my CB, fantastic incentive to work I would say!!!!:mad:
    MBNA [STRIKE]£2,029[/STRIKE] £1,145 Virgin [STRIKE]£8,712[/STRIKE] £7,957 Sainsbury [STRIKE]£6,870[/STRIKE] £5,575 M&S [STRIKE]£10,016[/STRIKE] £9,690 Barclaycard [STRIKE]£11,951[/STRIKE] £11,628 CTC [STRIKE]£7,629[/STRIKE] £6,789 Mortgage £[STRIKE]182,828[/STRIKE] £171,670
    LBM Dec12 excl mort 47,207/42,784 Dec13
    Excl mortg and CTC 39,578/35,995 Dec13
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    Extra payment a week:this week £0 / YTD£1,457.55
  • julie2710 wrote: »
    As a single parent to 2 young boys. I would like to say that the main issue is cost of childcare! I have worked full-time all my life, went back to work when the youngest was 18 weeks old. I am not in a position to move to a cheaper area so my mortgage and the cost of childcare take up about 90% of my salary! My childcare is a whopping £200 per week!!!! Standard cost in this area tbh!

    I need to earn a good wage to be able to afford to cover that cost but because I earn a good wage I will now be losing my CTC and in the future my CB, fantastic incentive to work I would say!!!!:mad:

    Why don't you get help with your childcare via your tax credits?
  • SingleSueSingleSue Forumite
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    There is a major hole in the provision for disabled child care. I asked the local child minders and got nowhere, social services asked around on my behalf and got nowhere either!

    There are oodles in this area which advertise that they can cater for the disabled child but the reality is very different....mild disabilities which do not include behavourial ones possibly, anything which includes any kind of behaviour issue and no dice.

    Another issue is age, most 14 year olds are not catered for by child carers but for a disabled child, you cannot leave them to get themselves home from school or be unattended like other children the same age...I am not even sure my middle son would know how to get home or even cope with getting home alone (no sense of danger, completely naive etc), let alone be able to be safely left in the house on his own.
    We made it! Two graduated, 1 currently at university doing a Masters, been hard work but it shows there is a possibility of a chance of normal (ish) life after a diagnosis (or two) of ASD. It's not been the easiest route but I am so glad I ignored everything and everyone and did my own therapies with them.
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  • ceridwenceridwen
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    With the fact that the age of youngest child having been reduced to 7 now for eligibility for Income Support - have any safeguards been put in place to stop women deliberately having another child once their youngest reaches 6 years old (ie specifically in order that they are entitled to a further 7 years on Income Support)?

    I've certainly heard of at least one woman making a comment to the effect of "My youngest will soon be an age where the Government will expect me to go back to work - I'd better have another one quick to make sure I dont have to..."
  • seven-day-weekendseven-day-weekend Forumite
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    Whilst understanding the difficulties about childcare for a single parent, maybe several single parents could work together to arrange time off for the school holidays and look after each others' children? Three parents working together could plug the six-week summer holiday, couldn't they?

    This is surely what couples do, so two or three single parents working together could do the same thing.

    Of course there are still the problems of children with disabilities, but afaik these parents are not expected to look for work when the child is five.
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