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Claiming 30 hours free childcare as a foster parent

About claiming 30 hours as a foster parent.

What is 30 hours?

Working parents of 3 and 4 year olds in England may be entitled to up to 30 hours of childcare, for 38 weeks of the year (or fewer hours over more weeks).  This is an additional 15 hours of childcare of top of the 15 hours universal entitlement for all 3 and 4 year olds in England.

Am i eligible?

You will be eligible for your children in foster care it is consistent with the child's care plan and you and your partner (if any) are working outside your fostering role.  You should start by discussing this with the child's social worker. 

How do I apply?

You will need to apply through the local authority who is responsible for the child in foster care. You and your partner if you have one will need your:

- National Insurance numbers

- Any evidence requested by your local authority

Will I have to pay for additional charges if I am using 30 Hours?

Just like at school, your childcare provider can charge for additional services, for example, lunch, trips or music classes.  These charges cannot be a condition of accessing your 30 hours place and alternative arrangements should be available. Any charges should be itemised and cannot be a supplementery 'top up'.  You should speak to your provider for further informatin about any additional charges.

Is 30 hours only available in term time or all year round?

Like the existing 15 hours, eligible parents are entitled to a maximum of 30 hours a week in each of the 38 weeks of the academic year. However you can stretch this offer over the year, for instance, you can take 22 hours a week for 52 weeks, or just under 24 hours for 48 weeks.  You should speak to your provider about how they are offering 30 hours.

In some cases, additonal checks may be needed to confirm whether you're eligible, so it's important to apply in good time.  If you are found ineligible we will tell you why. 

When can my child access a 30 hours place?


You can claim 30 hours from the term after:

- your foster child turns three and

- the date you receive your eligibility code from the local authority,

whichever date is later.

We recommend that you apply in good time, so that you receive your code the term before your child becomes eligible.  You can apply up to 16 weeks before your foster child turns three.

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