Childcare is the site of a number of interrelated and contested social, political and economic issues. The impetus for this piece of research came from a concern with how the UK government agenda for social inclusion, especially with regard to minority ethnic ‘hard-to-reach'' groups, could be promoted through childcare. At the time the study was conducted (2000-2003), very little research had been undertaken specifically on the childcare needs of minority ethnic groups in Britain, despite ‘race'' and ‘social exclusion'' being pertinent issues. This is a comparative study into the childcare practices and needs of Chinese and Bangladeshi communities, undertaken in collaboration with a city-wide childcare partnership in the North East of England. Based on background research and in-depth interviews from eight Chinese and seven Bangladeshi households of different origins, compositions and backgrounds, it describes the diverse and dynamic nature of minority ethnic households situated within their socio-historical contexts. The thesis ends with a practical note on the policy implications for socially inclusive childcare planning.