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Wraparound childcare is a unique and effective way for children to receive the help they need (and deserve) at a school, daycare centre or after school club. It is different from traditional methods of providing children who need extra help and support as it takes a holistic approach to care.

If you are in the childcare services industry looking to bring a wraparound approach to childcare into your business model or a parent wondering what wraparound care is, this post will be your ultimate guide!

What is Wraparound Childcare?

So, what are wraparound services exactly? Wraparound care is a progressive form of childcare that focuses on the child’s needs above all else. It focuses on individualised care for a child rather than providing generic or outdated advice for a group of young people.

Wraparound care focuses on the child’s needs and allows families to have a much bigger say in what they need from childcare providers. This way, the family and child have more input in what services they need and what helps the individual young person. Therefore, everyone works as a unit rather than superiors (who seldom even have time to actually interact with the little ones), dictating what is best for the child.

It is a relatively new term in the world of childcare but the concept of wraparound childcare has been used for many years. In fact, wraparound care has been around since the 80s!

Wraparound childcare can provide young children with more chances to develop their knowledge and social skills. In most cases, wraparound services come with a nominal daily fee.

You should note that wraparound care can also refer to holiday childcare. These services run through school holidays (e.g. summer vacations). In general, the purpose of holiday wraparound care is to offer stimulation and entertainment to children during these times of the year.

Sometimes parents use wraparound childcare to help children with complex needs (e.g. mental health or behavioural challenges). More often than not, they use wraparound care services due to a particularly busy work schedule. Of course, this form of childcare can prove beneficial either way (more on that later).

Schools do not have a legal obligation to provide wraparound childcare in the UK, but thankfully many do.

Best Practices for Wraparound Care

As a provider of wraparound care, it’s essential that the child, the child’s family, staff in the childcare positions, the child’s teachers and perhaps a social worker work together as a team.

Good Wraparound Services Include:

  • A plan that encompasses a mix of professional advice, natural and community support. The program can incorporate formal services and science-backed interventions alongside interpersonal support.
  • Involvement with the child’s family. The family are at the epicentre of the care plan. Therefore, exemplary wraparound services will involve the family at every step of the way and keep them informed about the child’s progress or any new developments in the care plan.
  • Support for the family and other people who interact with the child, so everyone is on the same page during the child’s development.
  • A creative approach to care. Wraparound care requires a holistic approach to childcare. Therefore, cookie-cutter plans are not suitable for every child (although cookies are certainly permitted themselves).
  • Tools to build the child’s skills to help them beyond when they leave your care.
  • A sustainability strategy to keep staff and sustain the business long term to avoid disruptions to the child’s care plan.
  • Community access to support, resources and services.
  • Accountability to ensure a plan is actually followed. A plan is only as good as the action that is taken to follow it.
  • Appropriate staff training to support all staff and children involved. Team preparation and support is vital to successfully implementing and maintaining an effective wraparound scheme. And the right professional training may be legally required for wraparound practises to operate.
  • A transition period may need to be considered. During this time, the team will ensure the child receives enough support while helping them feel integrated into a new community introduced to new support staff. The wraparound plan should also become less rigid to accommodate the child’s changing needs.

Voluntary Childcare Settings

A study in 2019 showed that over one-third of childcare and early years service providers in England were run on a voluntary basis. However, demand for voluntary childcare in the early years surpasses this. Therefore, voluntary childcare settings are more essential than ever, especially as parents return to work in the office following the pandemic.

  • An example of voluntary childcare setting downfalls includes a high turnover rate of volunteers, which can negatively impact the children in care. This is largely due to the fact that many of the volunteers may be parents of the children in care and once their child outgrows pre-school they will invariably be less inclined to volunteer.
  • Another reason is that volunteering at early years venues can be highly demanding for someone without formal training in the role. Therefore, many volunteers may leave due to the nature of the work or even to do full-time childhood studies.

The high turnover of volunteers is problematic for children in wraparound care as the concept involves all people involved in the child’s life to be on the same page and deliver the correct type of care.

Therefore, if you are considering where to place your child into care or run an early years childcare service, it is always a good idea to monitor volunteer (and paid staff) turnover.

Wraparound Service Specialists

Expanding on our discussion of volunteers vs. paid staff, the ideal scenario is one where wraparound care specialists teach your child.

A wraparound care specialist is a childcare professional with plenty of experience, and generally suitable qualifications.

A wraparound service specialist may have:

  • BA, Diploma, Foundation Degree, or HND in Early Childhood Studies.
  • Specialist qualification in Basic Play.
  • Specialist qualification in Youthwork.
  • Foundation Degree in Early Years.
  • NVQ Level 5 in Early Years Care and Education.

It’s worth checking out the website of any given wraparound service to see if their staff have specialist qualifications. Otherwise, you could always ask by email or phone.

Is Wraparound Care Effective?

An analysis reviewing multiple studies on whether wraparound is an effective strategy for children in need of extra support found that the effectiveness of wraparound care was largely positive.

However, as wraparound childcare is a somewhat new concept, there is still a lot more research that should be done in order to record the success of this type of care adequately.

Fortunately, another review recently published recent findings suggesting that 68% of the studies they looked at found that wrap-around care has a more positive impact compared to a control. What a win for holistic childcare!

Benefits of wraparound childcare

Advantages for the child

After school services can help children develop their social skills, character, and confidence. For young people with complex or specific needs, wraparound care can greatly impact their life.

In the case of disadvantaged children, attendance at afterschool services correlates with higher KS2 assessments in English, Maths and Science by the end of their primary education.

2016 NatCen research also found that children who participated in after school clubs and organised sports gained stronger social skills and achieved enhanced academic performance.

A much needed service for many parents

For parents with a busy work life, wraparound services can mean the world. In fact, a YouGov poll showed that 24% of parents couldn’t do their jobs if not for wraparound childcare. This figure increases to one in three for women.

A third of all respondents expressed how they’d need to cut their work hours if it wasn’t for wraparound care. These figures emphasise the importance of this form of childcare. It also adds to the case for wraparound childcare becoming more commonplace where possible. Also, almost 9 in 10 schools from a UK survey said they believe that the primary advantage that wraparound care offers is its ability to facilitate working parents (Employers For Childcare 2012).

Military families who could use wraparound provision receive specific support. This comes in the form of the UK government’s Wraparound Childcare (WAC) scheme.

The scheme offers as many as 20 free hours of before and after school care per week. This applies to military parents during their service years who have kids between the ages of four and eleven.

Some parents can also benefit from the Working Tax Credit (WTC). This credit applies to those on lower incomes who meet specific conditions. Employment or self-employment is also a requirement to utilize the WTC in this way.

In some cases, the WTC can cover eligible childcare. Currently, the childcare aspect of the WTC allows parents to claim as much as 70% of eligible childcare costs. Although, the rules cap this at £175 a week for one child and £300 a week for those with two or more kids.

The school receives additional income

Schools that provide wraparound care can also benefit financially. This can prove true, even if the school uses an outsourced provider. After all, the provider usually splits their revenue with the school.

Remember that the school is offering the provider a free space to operate in this scenario. So, it is not so much a case of the school hiring the provider in a conventional sense. All in all, wraparound services in schools can be a win-win…-win.

Other benefits for schools

Increased revenue is just one way that schools may benefit from wraparound childcare. An after school club could introduce children to activities they may not get a chance to try during the regular school day. Obviously you can only fit so much in a school day. These after school activities tend to fall under the categories of arts, crafts, and sports.

Of course, wraparound childcare is more likely to include activities that most children will find more exciting than regular school activities. This may include colouring pages, sudoku, and even learning the basics of how to code websites. Of course, the sorts of activities teachers would use depends on the age group.

Another advantage of after school services is that it can lead to happier and more active students. Exercise, which providers often offer as part of wraparound childcare, can be very beneficial for children’s mental well-being. Examples may include reduced anxiety, higher self-esteem, and enhanced social interaction. Of course, children’s physical health can benefit greatly from exercise too.

In many cases, schools may find it easier to outsource wraparound childcare. This would allow the school to focus on their current objectives while benefiting from an after school club all the same.

Kids Club HQ can Give You a Helping Hand as a Wraparound Childcare Provider

If you are a wraparound childcare provider, you likely want to work with organisations that share your ethics and values. Our Kids Club HQ values lie parallel with wraparound care. We believe in putting family above all else, maintaining our morals in business while providing outstanding work that actually helps people help children. Join our online platform to discover how you can use our system to help manage your after school and childcare services on a daily basis.

If you hate invoicing, dread organising bookings and feel swallowed in a mountain of paperwork, sign up for demo today to see how we can help you with your admin and leave your time free for outstanding childcare.