Raising a family is an expensive commitment. What's more the increasingly exorbitant cost of childcare -particularly for low-income families - more than often negates any financial benefits of going back to work. CareEd4 is a partnership between Barnardos and the Sustainable Business Council (SBC) designed to change the broken childcare paradigm and create a new, high quality childcare and education service that better meets the needs of working parents.

Aimed to enable vulnerable families to participate in meaningful and sustainable work while achieving economic independence, the programme caters for children aged 0-14, and will offer a flexible, affordable and accessible service, fully responsive to the needs of working parents. "The model will fill a gap for working parents who have to cobble together childcare solutions for children up to the age of 14 years from a range of disconnected services enabling them to enter and stay in the workforce" says Jeff Saunders, chief executive, Barnardos.

The benefits of the new CareEd4 model for families include increased flexibility in work hours and location, affordable childcare solutions reducing tension between home and work life and, most importantly, a solution that will provide all children the best start in education. CareEd4 also carries wider benefits for New Zealand including improved productivity and a reduction in youth unemployment and welfare dependency. Penny Nelson, executive director, Sustainable Business Council says the programme will help sole parents into sustainable and meaningful work. "Without a childcare system that is responsive to their needs and the realities of entry-level work we cannot achieve meaningful change for these families."