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30 hours funded childcare for foster children

Some children in foster care may receive up to 30 hours funded childcare. This gives foster families the same support as other families.

Applications are decided by the East Sussex Early Years Funding Team, with approval from the child's social worker needed before applying. You will need to provide proof of earnings to the Early Years Funding team before completing an application form.


Working families of 3 and 4-year olds in England can get up to 30 hours childcare for 38 weeks of the year. This is on top of the 15-hour universal entitlement for all 3 and 4-year-olds. Children in foster care are already entitled to the universal 15 hours.

Children in foster care aged 3 or 4 years old will be able to receive 30 hours funded childcare if accessing the extended hours is consistent with the child’s care plan, and:

  • a single foster carer is working outside of fostering
  • one of a couple fostering works outside of fostering and the other carer receives benefits
  • a couple is fostering and both carers are working outside of fostering

If your application is successful, you will receive your eligibility code from East Sussex Early Years Funding Team.

For more information, email the Early Years Funding team.

Timescales for applying

Foster carers can apply up to 16 weeks before their foster child turns three.

They can claim 30 hours from the funding period after their foster child turns three. The funding periods start on

  • 1st September
  • 1st January
  • 1st April

Application form

If your application is successful

If an application is successful, the Early Years funding team will:

  • generate an 11-digit code
  • email code to the foster carer
  • inform the child’s social worker

The foster carer gives the code to an early years provider of their choice and agrees a 30-hour place. (Some early years providers may charge for consumables/services as part of a funded place).

The early years provider will use the code to receive payment from the Early Years Funding team.


Foster carers must reconfirm their eligibility every three months. The child’s social worker will need to confirm the:

  • placement for the child is still ongoing
  • accessing the 30 hours is still consistent with the child’s care plan
  • foster carers are still in paid work outside their role as a foster carer (evidence provided)

You must reconfirm the foster child’s place before the end of the three-month period. If you do not the child may no longer be eligible for 30 hours childcare.

COVID-19 - taking your child to childcare

The professional association for childcare and early years (PACEY) has a page of coronavirus (COVID-19) parent information on taking your child to childcare.