Probe into illegal nursery schools

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AN investigation has been launched to try to stop the setting up of illegal nursery schools which may put young children in danger.

There is growing evidence that people are setting up their own nurseries and charging others to look after children to avoid parents having to pay up to £1,000 per month for child care.

Both Jersey Childcare Trust and the Community Relations Trust have begun trying to locate these illegal care centres and are intending to use the help of the States police to stop them.

The news came out during the evidence of Fiona Vacher, executive director of Jersey Childcare Trust, at a scrutiny panel hearing this week on the effects of a goods and services tax on the cost of child care.

She said the authorities had become so concerned about the problem that they have had to launch an investigation.

Mrs Vacher warned that something needed to be done, as children’s lives were being put at risk because the people looking after them were not qualified, regulated or had the necessary police checks.

Giving evidence to the panel, she said: ‘There is lots of evidence that the Polish and Portuguese communities are not using registered child care and some of them have got up to ten children who are not registered.

‘The Community Relations Trust has launched an investigation to determine how widespread the problem is.

It is safe for children to be cared for by their mum and dad or a close relative.

But this is a very unsafe situation and if discovered, the police will be going in to break these up.

‘People are paying around £50 a week – and you can’t blame them for that – but they are leaving their children with people who have no child care or first aid training.

This is very serious.’ Along with Tim Brint, of Leeward Nursery, Mrs Vacher also warned that a three per cent GST being placed on the cost of child care could be enough to tip the balance in favour of parents not returning to work and looking after their children themselves.

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