Childminders face ban on smacking

Childminders are set to be banned from smacking children in their care - even if they have permission from parents.

The new rules are soon to be officially unveiled by the Government.

The ban, which will cover England's 70,000 registered childminders, will also see carers stopped from smoking in front of youngsters, the Department of Education and Skills said.

But the new rules will not stop parents from smacking their children, despite pressure from the United Nations for an outright ban.

The planned secondary legislation follows soon after new regulations for childminders, which were introduced in August 2000.

Then the Government stopped short of banning smacking by childminders, despite pressure from the UN and child welfare groups.

Childminders in Wales were banned from smacking youngsters in their care last year under regulations approved by the Welsh Assembly.

A Department of Education spokeswoman said the ban would come into effect during the autumn.

"It will follow a review of the legislation, which was promised in 2001. The department will be consulting on the wording of the draft over the summer and subject to the scrutiny of Parliament it will start to take effect from September," said the spokesman.

"It is basically about bringing the guidance in line with the standards for other childcare workers and ensuring parents know what the standards are," she added.

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