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Day care registration

You can now apply online to become an early years day care provider in the Belfast Trust area. This page contains lots of information about the process, but if you can’t find what you are looking for, then contact us at

  • Types of day care provider

    A person who looks after one or more children under the age of twelve for more than two hours a day in a private house for reward. Download full guidance document

    Day care provider for under 12’s

    People running day care services, used by children aged under twelve and open for more than two hours a day. Day care services include facilities such as day nurseries, playgroups, out of school clubs, holiday schemes and crèches. People who run these services are required to register whether or not they receive payment.

    Download full guidance document

    Home carer

    A home carer is a person aged 18 years or over who cares for the children (aged from birth to 17) in their own home: or for children of no more than two families, wholly or mainly at the home of one family at any one time. If a person cares for the children of three or more families at any one time, the law says they are no longer a home carer but a childminder.

    Download full guidance document

    Employers for Childcare provide a service whereby they will help you through the home carer application process, provide you with the necessary training and find you employment with a family.

  • Guidance to help you apply

    The aim of this guidance is to assist people who wish to make an application to become an early years day care provider. Please read this information carefully before you proceed to use our online application service.

  • Who is required to register?

    Under the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 you are required to register with your local Trust if you wish to provide a service as a childminder, set up a day nursery, a playgroup, a crèche, a holiday scheme or to become a home carer.

    Under the Order you will not have to register if you provide supervised activities such as those provided by:

    • uniformed organisations, i.e., Scouts
    • religious activities
    • leisure and recreational activities
    • activities occurring in schools designed to enhance a child’s skills or attainments
    • education tuition.

    However, not all these activities are excluded and you should contact your local Early Years Registration and Inspection Team for advice on whether you are required to register.

    In order to meet registration requirements you must comply with the Early Years Standards and Childminding and Day Care for Children Under age 12 Minimum Standards (July 2012) and Minimum Standards for Childminding and Day Care for Children Under Age 12 – Implementation Guide which were published by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in July 2013 (Version 2)

    These standards apply to providers of full day care, pre-school sessional care, creches, out of school clubs and childminders.

  • Purpose of registration

    The purpose of registration is:

    • to protect children
    • promote good standards of child care provision
    • re-assure parents about the facilities providing care
    • help childminders and day care providers to offer a good quality of service to children and their parents.
  • How long will registration take?

    Once you have completed and forwarded your online application this will be directed to the appropriate early years team. Your home address or address at which you propose to offer the service from will determine which team manages your application.

    The Belfast Trust early years teams endeavour to ensure the registration process is completed within the statutory time frames of three months for childminders and applicants for playgroups, and six months for day nurseries and other services. These timescales are dependent upon all the relevant information being received from you and other people or professionals in order to progress vetting checks and the associated assessments.

  • Do I have to pay a fee?

    The Registration process requires the Trust to complete vetting checks on people who are applying to look after children or people who will be living on, or regular visitors to, the premises where children are to be looked after.

    Access N.I. is the legally mandated organisation, which the Trust uses to process the vetting checks on prospective childminders, prospective and registered owners of private day care and the committee chairpersons of group day care, which are not privately owned.

    Where a fee is required the charge by Access N.I. to complete these checks is currently (as of August 2010) £30.00 per person however vetting agencies may charge you an additional fee to process these checks for you. The total cost will be dependent upon the numbers of people to be checked.

  • Will I have to send the fee with this application?


    When your application is received by the local early years office, you will be forwarded a registration pack which will include the forms and information relating to the completion of the Access NI disclosure process and if payment is required.

  • How do I get information to help me decide if I want to proceed with registration?

    Once your local early years office has received your application form they will forward you the registration pack, which includes the materials and guidance to assist you in understanding the information required by the Trust and their procedures for processing your application.

    You may also contact the teams directly. There contact details are available on the Early Years Page.

Apply online

The links below will direct you to our online forms which are hosted on the Northern Ireland Business Information website. This service lets you submit a form and its related documentation online.

The Belfast Trust will be notified of your application submission and will process it. When you have completed the online process you will receive an application reference number and email confirmation.

  1. Application for registration as a childminder under Children’s (NI) Order 1995
  2. Application for day care facilities for under 12s under Children (NI) Order 1995
  3. Application for approval as a home child carer under Tax Credits (Approval of Home Childcarer Providers) Scheme (Northern Ireland) 2006 SR 2006 No 64
  4. Childminding Enquiry Form

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