Early Years

Buckinghamshire Community Childminding Network (BCCN)

BCCN - How to refer


Buckinghamshire Community Childminding Network (BCCN) began in 2005 and is an award-winning service providing respite for vulnerable children and young people from birth to 25 (with SEND).

Members of BCCN are registered childminders who have been recruited through an interview process and are required to have the relevant skills and experience to provide high quality respite care for vulnerable children and young people with a variety of additional and complex needs.  Children are cared for alongside other children in the childminder’s setting or on occasions a 1:1 basis where necessary. 

BCCN receives referrals from several services and organisations such as Social Care, Women’s Aid, Health, Education and Early Help.


How much respite can be provided?

Care could be as little as a few hours, a day or several sessions over a longer period.  We can also provide overnight, weekend and holiday respite. Respite can be planned or unplanned in the event of an emergency.

For example;

  • A parent is unable to attend an essential appointment as they have no one to provide care for their child.
  • As part of an intervention plan a parent is required to access a parenting course and therefore needs regular childcare to enable them to do so.
  • There are concerns around a child’s safety, they are unable to go home so overnight respite may be required.
  • As part of a package of care regular ongoing respite in a home-based environment is required for a child with additional needs.


What is the criteria for referral?

When considering if a family meets the criteria for receiving respite please refer to the accompanying threshold document.  They must meet a minimum of two criteria in Level 2 or one of the criteria in Levels 3 or 4.


How is respite funded?

Where families have an identified need for respite, are unable to fund this privately and they meet the criteria, a package of care is funded through Buckinghamshire Council.    However parents will be asked to contribute where possible.  Alternatively, your service may be funding the respite you’re asking us to provide.  In all circumstances and regardless of funding the contract is between the Childminder and whoever has parental responsibility for the child.

For those families looking to access childcare using Direct Payments or private funding then please signpost them to Childcare Brokerage Service | Buckinghamshire Council for support in sourcing suitable respite to meet their individual requirements.


Who can make a referral?

Parents cannot self-refer, if you are a professional working with a family and you identify a need for short term respite then with parent’s consent you can make a referral.


How do I refer?

The information you provide in the referral will enable the team to identify the most suitable BCCN childminder who has the skills, experience and knowledge to support the child you referred.  In the event the child has complex medical needs we will work with you to ensure the childminder accesses appropriate training prior to care starting for them to care safely for that child.

You can refer by selecting the link below, completing the form and attaching any supporting relevant information:

Referral for BCCN childcare

Alternatively, if you would like to talk through a potential referral before making the application, contact one of our team on 01296 387000 or email bccn@buckinghamshire.gov.uk


I’ve referred, what happens now?

A member of the team will contact you to discuss the referral and may request additional information.  If your service is funding the care you are requesting, we will immediately look at finding a suitable BCCN childminder who has capacity to offer the package of care you’ve requested.  As a guide costs per hour range from £4.50-£13.50. 

Where you are requesting care and funding your application will be reviewed by a virtual panel and a decision made as to whether the request meets the criteria.   We will notify you of the decision and where application meets criteria, aim to process a request within 5days from start to finish.  In the event the application is not suitable for BCCN we will endeavour to signpost you to an appropriate alternative.


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