Anyone with children will know childcare is expensive. You can get an idea of the average costs of different types of childcare on the Money Advice Service website.
If you have children under 4, you can get some free childcare. This is called Free Early Education Entitlement or FEEE. There are different rules depending on the age of your child and your own circumstances. Here is a summary:
- All 3 and 4 year-olds in England can get 570 hours of free childcare every year. This gives you 15 hours each week for 38 weeks. You can use this at any Ofsted registered childcare provider.
- Some 2 year-olds can also get 15 hours a week free childcare, if you are receiving certain benefits or if your child has certain disabilities or special education needs (SEN)
To apply for 15 hours free childcare, you can ask any provider if they have places for the 15 hours a week free childcare or FEEE. If they do, they will organise this for you.
- Some 3 and 4 year-olds may also be able to get an extra 15 hours free childcare (30 hours total) free childcare. You and your partner must be working, (or receiving parental leave or sick leave) and paid the equivalent of 16 hours pay per week at national minimum wage
Be aware, you cannot claim the extra free 15 hours childcare if you are a migrant from outside the EU and your UK residence card says you cannot access public funds.
There are also welfare benefits and other support you might be able to get with childcare costs. These include:
- Tax-free childcare
- Tax credits for childcare
You can find out more about all types of support with childcare costs on the Government’s Childcare Choices website. You can also find out if you are able to claim and how to apply.
If you need help finding childcare and finding out what support you can get with the costs you can speak to the Family Information Service in Leeds:
Family Information Service, Technorth, 9 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, LS7 3NB
0113 378 9700 (Mon to Thurs, 8:30-17:00, Fri, 8:30-16:30)