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Information for practitioners about funded childcare for 3- and 4-year-olds

Information for practitioners about funded childcare for 3- and 4-year-olds

All 3- and 4-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours funding per week over 38 weeks of the year.

Some 3- and 4-year-olds are entitled to an additional 15 hours funding per week (30 Hours Extended Funding Entitlement).

The criteria for 30 hours funding

For the child to be eligible for the 30 hours funded entitlement, the parents have to meet one of the following criteria:

  • both parents are working (or sole parent in a lone parent family) and each parent earns on average:
    • a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) for under 25-year-olds or national living wage (NLW) if over 25-years-old, and less than £100,000 per year
  • both parents or carers are employed but one or both parents or carers is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave or statutory sick pay, or
  • one parent or carer is employed and the other parent or carer has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring, or
  • one parent or carer is employed and one parent or carer is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits

Find further information about the eligibility criteria on the Childcare Choices website.

How to apply

To find out if their child is eligible, the parents must go to the Childcare Choices website and complete an application for 30 hours funding. If they are eligible they will receive an eligibility code which must be taken to their chosen provider and entered onto the Parental Declaration Form before their child takes up a 30 hours place.

The family may receive an eligibility code before their child is 3 but they can only start claiming their 30 hours place in the term following their third birthday or the term following the date when the eligibility code was issued (whichever is later).


The parents must go onto the childcare choices website and reconfirm their eligibility every 3 months in order to ensure the validity of their code. The parents must reapply by the 31 March (for the summer term), the 31 August (for the autumn term), and the 31 of December (for the spring term).

If they miss the reconfirmation deadline, they'll receive a message telling them that their eligibility has lapsed. They should go into their childcare account and reconfirm.

If they are no longer eligible for 30 hours, they will enter a grace period where they may be able to retain their 30 hours for a short period of time. Please note: new children cannot take up a place with a provider if they are currently in their grace period.

Providers should also remind parents to check codes when they are:

  • in grace period
  • if the end date for eligibility is that term

Information for families in receipt of carers allowance

For joint applications - carer allowance is only available to a family where at least one working parent meets the qualifying income levels and the other parent is in receipt of a qualifying benefit, including carers allowance or carer’s element of universal credit (it does not matter who they are carer for).

For single applications - the parent must meet income requirements, regardless if they are in receipt of qualifying benefits.

Applying for 30 Hours for children in foster care

Children in foster care can receive 30 hours of childcare if the foster carers meet the eligibility criteria below and it is consistent with the child’s care plan. The foster carer should apply for a 30 hours code via their local authority and should speak to their supervising social worker to see if they meet the criteria before completing an application form.

  • City of York Council is the corporate parent of the child; if the corporate parent is in another local authority you must contact them for an application form
  • the child is eligible for 3- and 4-year-old funding (term after their third birthday), or will be in the next 10 weeks
  • it's in the child's care plan that attending a childcare setting for the additional hours is in their best interest
  • all foster carers in the household are working outside of fostering, or if a couple, at least one carer is working and the other carer is in receipt of a qualifying benefit
  • the foster carers are EEA or Swiss national and they have EU Settled Status (EUSS) or are in the process of applying for or appealing EUSS and they meet the other eligibility criteria
  • the foster carers must live in England
  • the foster carers are working, but earning less than £100,000 net per year or
  • non-foster parents in the household must meet the standard criteria for a 30 hour code:
    • working and earning the equivalent of 16 hours per week at the minimum wage or national living wage;
    • earning less than £100,000 per year; and
    • EEA or Swiss national and they have EU Settled Status (EUSS) or are in the process of applying for or appealing EUSS or have a visa allowing them to have access to public funds

To apply for 30 hours funding for a child in care, the supervising social worker will need to complete the City of York Council Foster Carers Application form, and will need to have this approved by the Virtual School Head. More Information about the application process is available on the form.