It’s only equality if the government can’t exploit it

When I was linked to this story on the Daily Fail yesterday, I assumed that it had been exaggerated because after all it was in the Daily Fail. Right..? Sadly not, as the same story was also published by the BBC:

…the case of two police officers told they had broken the law by caring for each other’s children.

Ofsted said the arrangement contravened the Childcare Act because it lasted for longer than two hours a day, and constituted receiving “a reward”.

It said the women would have to be registered as childminders.

Now let’s just clarify this here. Two women working in LAW ENFORCEMENT – where I’m fairly sure you have to be CRB-checked and be generally sensible people – have been told that babysitting for one another in their own homes so that they can go to work without being crippled by childcare costs is a REWARD and therefore contravenes the Childcare act.

Let’s just run that one again. A mutual agreement – which sees two young children cared for by someone who they are close to, who is both a parent of a similarly-aged child AND who is CRB-checked & trained to respond to emergency situations – is a reward and they have now been told to cease this arrangement unless they register as childminders and succumb to inspection by Ofsted.

I… I don’t even know where to start on this one so we’ll go for ye olde favourite, responsibility.

What has encouraged me over the last 24 hours has been the anger displayed by other mothers, fathers and grandparents responding to this. I have personally been long concerned that this Government does not trust parents to make decisions for their own children, that laws are enacted with scant consideration to those it covers. Ludicrous rules enforced in the name of “Health & Safety” have left our children incapable of assessing risk for themselves or – for the most part – able to play naturally without inhibition or worry about breaking the rules. But – and it is a big but – what gives Ofsted the right to intervene in a situation that is common practice the length and breadth of the nation? Ironically, it turns out that if Mother A had taken Child A to Mother B’s house to care for the children there (and vice versa) it would have been a non sequitur because the role of the carer changes from childminder to childcarer

Of course, if those women had accepted their subservient roles and stayed at home with their children instead of working then there would be no issue. I mean, how very dare they desire to leave their children to go out to the workplace? The government provides tax credits to contribute towards the costs of childcare, isn’t that good enough for these Mothers? So I throw it open to you – do you think this action is fair and equitable? Or absolutely ridiculous?

I think I’ve made my feelings quite clear on the matter but just in case – Mr Brown, stop blaming the Mothers.


4 Responses

  1. as usual a stupid law made in haste which was NEVER EVER about protecting children.

    If it was to protect children then looking after them in their home rather than yours, or the time between 6pm and 2am would not be exempt would it!? or is it OK to abuse a child at night? Relatives are also exempt – even if you pay them!!

    A stupid law designed to protect the council and make a bit of cash on the side (it costs £103 per year to be a childminder!)

  2. What hits home for me is that I would give almost anything for a similar arrangement right now. I’m actually trying to create a couple: have someone watch the Boychick for a few hours every week, so I can work, study, run. According to the interpretation of that law used in that situation, if I were in the UK my friends and I would be breaking the law. Because if it’s not heteronormative nuclear-centric and not capitalist consumerism, it’s ev0l and dangerous!!!1!

    We’re chided for working and abandoning our kids, chided for staying home and keeping them isolated: it was inevitable we’d be criminalized for trying to create community and a broader definition of family.

  3. Well then, I’m breaking the law too!

    I and my patner do a baby-sitting swap with some friends of ours – 3 hours or so on the odd weekend afternoon. It’s brilliant.

    Sod Ofsted.

  4. […] in which she points out how the mother-blaming culture has lead to this gem of a mother-blame, and It’s only equality if the government can’t exploit it, on how child-care swaps are apparently criminal in the UK. (And if my fellow US citizens feel smug […]

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