Illegal childcare

BBC report here on two women police officers who were told they were breaking the law with their reciprocal childcare arrangement. That they were doing each other a favour has been interpreted as providing the childcare ‘for reward’ – something ruled out by the 2006 Childcare Act:

“Generally, mothers who look after each other’s children are not providing childminding for which registration is required, as exemptions apply to them, for example because the care is for less than two hours or it takes place on less than 14 days in a year.

“Where such arrangements are regular and for longer periods, then registration is usually required.”

Close relatives of children, such as grandparents, siblings, aunts or uncles, were exempt from the rules, [an Ofsted spokesoman] added.

This debacle seems to be underpinned by inconsistent views of the value of childcare: on the one hand, the state hasn’t gone far enough to recognise childcare as important work for which carers should be adequately reimbursed; on the other, that it sometimes is undertaken as paid work (by registered childcarers) causes these kinds of confusions in the application of regulations. Any thoughts?