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30 hours funded childcare for working parents

Working parents of children aged 9 months up to 4 years old could be entitled for up to 30 hours funded childcare a week. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply.

From April 2024, parents of children aged 2 years old will be able to claim 15 hours funded childcare. From September 2024 parents of children aged 9 months old will be able to claim 15 hours funded childcare. This will increase to 30 hours funded childcare from September 2025 for all children aged from 9 months old.

Eligibility information  

A child qualifies for funded childcare if they are resident in England and under compulsory school age. 

Families where one parent does not work (or neither parent works) will not usually be eligible. However, the funded childcare will be available when both parents are employed but one or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on:

  • parental leave
  • maternity leave
  • paternity leave
  • adoption leave
  • statutory sick leave 

A child qualifies when one parent is employed, and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits for caring, or one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or on disabled specific benefits. 

Apply for funded childcare if you're working on the GOV website

Process for accessing your free childcare

Once you are eligible, you will receive a code from HMRC. You then choose a childcare provider that is signed up to deliver the 30 hours funded childcare.  

Eligibility codes given out have a 3 month validity period. 

You will be asked to reconfirm your eligibility every 3 months, declaring any changes in circumstances. 

If a parent's employment circumstances change, they can retain their funded childcare place for a set amount of time. This will:

  • provide continuity for the child
  • give parents the opportunity to regain employment
  • give childcare providers certainty that if they offer funded childcare places, they will not risk having an empty space

 

A parent's experience of accessing 30 hours childcare

In the following Department of Education video, Claire from Leeds shares some of the benefits she's found since accessing 30 hours childcare. 

 

For more information contact the Families Information Service by phone on 01642 527225.