All Two Year Olds who are in receipt of:
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- OR have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
Can receive up to 15 hours FREE childcare a week to use in an Early Years setting such as a Day Nursery or with a Childminder.
Applying for FREE Childcare is easy, choose 1 of 4 ways to apply:
Make sure you have a copy of your latest DLA award notice, or EHCP plan before you start.
1. Online : Click here to apply online. You will apply under 'the non-economic' criteria if your child is in reciept of DLA or has an EHCP, and you can upload You will need to upload a clear well lit photo as evidence with your application, if you are doing the application online.
2. Face to Face :
Come along to the Childcare Surgery at Library @thelightbox. This is a drop in session between 9am-12pm every Monday on the 1st floor, please bring a copy of your DLA award notice or EHCP.
3. Over the phone :
Call FIS (Families Information Service) on 0800 0345 340. We can do an application over the phone with you. We will take your contact details and call you back, letting you know what you will to supply us with to process the application, and what will happen next.
4. At the Day Nursery or Childminder's.
Check first if your setting is able to do an 'assisted application'. You can then go along to the childcare setting and they with do an "Assisted application" with you. You will need to take a copy of your supporting evidence (DLA award notice or EHC plan)
You can use the most recent copy of your child's Disability Living Allowance letter or Education, Health and Care Plan as evidence to apply for a funded place.
You won't get your code immediately when you apply online under 'non-economic criteria' because we need to check your supporting evidence first.
Please allow up to two working days for your application to be approved.
When your information has been processed you will receive a notification from the citizen portal (where you apply from) with a confirmation code. You will recieve an email notification from the website asking you to log back in. You should then see the confirmation code starting with... TYOF followed by a series of numbers and letters.
You need to keep this. The confirmation code is proof of your child's eligibility.
If your child is already attending a setting
Email or hand in the confirmation code so that the setting can start to claim funding.
If your child is not yet accessing a setting
Please contact Families Information Service on 0800 0345 340 and we will talk through your childcare options and help you to find childcare which is suitable for you and your child.
The day nursery or childminder will be able to discuss with you:
- Start dates
- How they can meet your child's needs
- Reasonable adjustments
All Early Years Settings must have arrangements in place to support children with SEN or disabilities.
- They will arrange a meeting with you to discuss what support is needed and then put a plan in place to support your child’s development.
- Once your child has been identified as needing SEN support, staff will observe your child’s play and progress even more closely.
- They will meet with you regularly to discuss how your child is getting on and plan next steps.
If you would like to find out more about the range of support for children who have additional needs in teh early years please click here.
What does the funding pay for?
- The funding will pay for childcare for up to 15 hours a week (38 weeks of the year) - That’s 15 hours of playing, painting, reading, cooking, climbing, singing, dancing, dressing-up, running around, building, gardening... whatever your child likes doing
Do I have to send my child for 15 hours a week?
- It is not required that the full 15 hours a week are taken up straight away, they can be built up slowly over the year
What if I need childcare in the school holidays?
- It may also be possible to stretch the free hours over 50 weeks of the year, if your chosen childcare provider is open all year round (stretched offer). If you would like to consider a stretched offer, you can discuss this with your childcare provider.
My child needs 1:1, is this covered by the funding?
- Sometimes a child may need additional funding to provide 1:1 support or any specialist equipment. The childcare provider can apply for an Inclusion Grant to help meet your child's needs whilst accessing the funding.
My child is nearly three, is it too late to apply?
- The funded place will last until your child reaches the term after their third birthday when they become eligible for universal FREE childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.
Can I still apply if my child doesn't get DLA or have an EHCP?
You might still be eligible under the 'economic criteria' (household income) and must be getting one of the following:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
- Tax credits and have an annual income under £16,190 before tax
- The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
- Universal Credit - if you and your partner are on a low income from work (this usuallly means a combined income of less than £15,400 a year after tax)
For further information and to apply online under 'economic criteria' click here.