Help with childcare costs
There is help available for parents of children 0 to 16 depending on your circumstances.
All families in England with 3 and 4-year-old children can claim 15 hours of funded childcare a week. But you may be able to claim more funded childcare hours, child tax credits, and other forms of financial support.
Funded childcare for 2-year-olds
You may be able to claim up to 15 hours of funded childcare per week, for up to 38 weeks a year.
Find out if you qualify for 2 year funding.
- Apply here to: register or sign in for 2 year funding - GOV.UK
Most childcare providers offer 2 year funding: check with the provider.
Most only offer funded places during term time. Discuss with them to see if they can spread this across the whole year.
Funded childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds
From the term after their 3rd birthday, all children get 15 hours funded childcare. This is per week, for up to 38 weeks a year, until they go to school.
Most childcare providers only provide funded places during term time, but some will spread it across the year.
After you register, your provider will apply for funding for you. Places are available at nurseries and some childminders.
- Talk to your provider.
- More on funded childcare for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds
- The Professional association for childcare and early years (Pacey) has information concerning coronavirus (COVID-19): Parent information on taking your child to childcare
Working parents 30 hours offer
Working parents of 3 or 4-year-olds can apply for up to 30 hours funded childcare a week - GOV.UK.
You could still be eligible if you, or your partner, are:
- on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or
- unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities.
Get your 30 hours code in good time for next funding period: apply by the end of December.
You must revisit your account to re-validate your code every three months.
If you need help applying for the 30 hours funded childcare, telephone HMRC on 0300 123 4097.
Most childcare providers offer the 30 hours funded childcare, contact them to check.
30 hours offer for foster children
Children in foster care aged 3 and 4 can get 30 hours funded childcare a week if their:
- social worker agrees it fits with their care plan and
- you and your partner (if any) are working outside of fostering
- How to apply for: 30 hours for foster children
Other help with childcare costs
Some employers help with childcare costs through the childcare voucher scheme - GOV.UK or a staff nursery. Childcare voucher schemes allow employees to pay for childcare from their salary before tax and NI deductions.
Working parents on low incomes might be entitled to tax credits - GOV.UK to help pay for childcare costs.
Full-time students might be entitled to a childcare grant - GOV.UK.
You can get access to Holiday activities and food for your children if they receive free school meals.
Have you had technical problems with your Tax Free Childcare account?
If so please see HMRC’s Childcare Service Compensation - GOV.UK to make a claim.
If you have a question that we did not answer here, please contact the Customer Relations team:
- Telephone: 0345 60 80 192
- email: Early Years Education Entitlement
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