Day care registration


The Northern Trust offers an online application service for persons who wish to apply to become an early years day care provider in the Northern Trust area.  There are three 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.

Day care provider for under 12s
Persons 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. Persons who run these services are required to register whether or not they receive payment.

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.

The Minimum Standards for Childminding and Day Care for Children Under Age 12 were published by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety on 20 July 2012. These standards will apply to providers of full day care, pre-school sessional care, creches, out of school clubs and childminders.

Copies of the standards are available for download from the Department's website at:

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. Contact details are provided below.

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 Northern 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 persons 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 persons who are applying to look after children or persons 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 persons 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. 

Applying online

How do I 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 Northern 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

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 at the numbers provided below should you wish to discuss the process further. 

For general enquiries email:
Northern Trust Early Years Teams

Early Years Team, Suite 7, River House, Castle Lane, Waterside, Coleraine BT51 3DR.
Telephone: 028 703 58158

Early Years Team, Ellis Street, Carrickfergus, BT38 8AZ
Telephone: 028 93 315112

Early Years Team, Raphael House, 11b Fenaghy Road, Galgorm, Ballymena, BT42 1HW.
Telephone: 028 256 35110

Early Years Team, Sperrin House, 43 Queen’s Avenue, Magherafelt, BT45 6BY.
Telephone: 028 79 301700

Page last updated:21 December 2012