Armstrong calls for clarification for carers and parents regarding return to work

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has called for clarity from the Ministers of Health, Education and the Economy for those due back to work without childcare or daycare provision being in place.

The Strangford MLA said she had been contacted by many parents and carers concerned by the lack of clarification by Ministers about the impact a lack of childcare or daycare is having on them, leading to a detrimental effect on families.

“Without appropriate childcare or daycare facilities, a number of parents and carers will end up losing their jobs or have to resign from their employment because some Ministers have failed to deal with the childcare issue. Carers who depend on daycare support for people with disabilities are not being afforded any respite and are being expected to go back to full-time jobs.

“What happens to children or those with certain disabilities while parents or carers are at work? Do the Ministers of Health, Education and the Economy think it is appropriate for vulnerable children or people with disabilities to sit alone at home for hours on end? It does not appear any equality impact assessment has been done to ensure people with dependents have been considered before easing of lockdown restrictions to enable businesses to return.

“Ironically, it is Carers’ Week. I am calling on the Ministers to consult with parents and carers in order to consider the actions needed to remove barriers to employment, or return to employment, for families. There needs to be a person-centred approach, getting childcare and daycare sorted first before potential redundancies and resignations. I want to see the care put back into considerations and it confirmed there will be enough childcare and daycare available for all.”