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30 hours' funded childcare for foster children

The child

The child's social worker agrees that accessing the extended hours is consistent with the child's care plan.

The child will be accessing the funded hours the term after the child's third birthday, or later.

The foster parent/s should receive their 30-hour code from the early education entitlement team before the term in which the foster child wishes to start their funded hours.

The foster parent/s

In single carer foster families, the foster parent/s engages in paid work outside their role as a foster parent/s or will be taking up paid employment within the next 31 days. There is no minimum earnings limit, but the carer cannot earn more than £100,000.

In two-carer foster families, both partners engage in paid work outside their role as a foster parent or will be taking up paid work within the next 31 days. There is no minimum earning limit, but neither carer can earn more than £100,000.

If one partner is not a foster parent, they must be in qualifying paid work and earn a minimum of the equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum or national living wage and no more than £100,000.

You may still be eligible for 30 hours free childcare if one foster parent holds additional employment outside of their role as a foster parent, and one carer does not hold additional employment but is receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • for Universal Credit purposes, they are assessed as having limited capability for work
  • receive National Insurance credits because of incapacity or limited capability for work
  • receive a Carer's Allowance
  • receive an Employment and Support Allowance
  • receive Incapacity Benefit
  • receive a Severe Disablement Allowance

Immigration status

A foster parent who is an EEA or Swiss national will only be eligible for 30 hours' free childcare if they have EU Settled Status (EUSS) or are in the process of applying for or appealing EUSS and they meet the other eligibility criteria.

Foster parents will need to provide evidence that they have either successfully received confirmation of EUSS, have applied for EUSS or are appealing a refusal for EUSS. This can be in the form of written or email confirmation from the Home Office.

How to apply

You'll need to apply to the local authority that has responsibility for the child in foster care.

Contact the child's social worker to discuss whether accessing the 30 hours is consistent with the child's care plan. The number of hours the child will attend provision will need to be agreed by the child's social worker.

If it's agreed that the application is appropriate, you'll complete the application form and have it counter-signed by your foster child's social worker.

An application form is available at the bottom of this page.

Evidence to support your application

You'll need to supply evidence to support your application. This may be any of the following documents:

  • payslips for the last three months
  • contract of employment to commence within 31 days
  • offer of employment letter to commence within 31 days
  • for self-employed people, a tax return for the last financial year

When to apply

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.

If the application is successful, a 30 hours code will be issued; this must be taken to the chosen childcare provider.

You'll need to reconfirm your eligibility with us every three months.

If you'd like any more information, please email