Help with childcare costs

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To keep your 30 hours place or tax-free childcare, every 3 months check your details are up to date.

Go to gov.uk/childcareaccount

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 free childcare a week. But you may be able to claim more free childcare hours, child tax credits, and other forms of financial support.

Types of funding

Free childcare for 2 year olds

You may be able to claim up to 15 hours of free childcare per week, for up to 38 weeks a year.

Apply here – register or sign in to apply for 2 year funding

Most childcare providers only offer funded places during term time. Discuss with them to see if they can spread this across the whole year.

Find providers of free childcare hours for 2 year olds.

Free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

From the term after their 3rd birthday, all children get 15 hours free 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.

Download a leaflet with more information and translations

Working parents 30 hours offer

Working parents of 3 or 4 year olds can apply for up to 30 hours free childcare a week. Get your 30 hours code in good time for next term: apply by the end of December 2018.

Then remember to revisit your account to re-validate your code every three months.

If you need help applying for the 30 hours free childcare, call HMRC on 0300 123 4097.

Find providers of 30 hours free childcare

30 hours offer for foster children

Children in foster care aged 3 and 4 can get 30 hours free 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

Guidance and criteria

Application for 30 hours offer for foster children

Further information

Other help with childcare costs

Some employers help with childcare costs with a childcare voucher scheme 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 may be entitled to tax credits to help pay for childcare costs.

Full-time students may be entitled to a Childcare grant.

Compensation

Have you had technical problems with your Tax Free Childcare account? See HMRC’s Childcare Service Compensation to make a claim.