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. 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.

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. 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.

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.

To start claiming 30 hours from:

  • January, you must apply for the code by 31 December
  • April, you must apply for the code by 31 March
  • September, you must apply for the code by 31 August

If application is successful, you will receive an 11-digit voucher code. You must take the voucher code to your Early Years Provider, who will confirm the code.

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

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.

Further help

If you have a question that we did not answer here, please contact the Customer Relations team:

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