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New online tool points parents towards personalised childcare support options

Parents can now visit an updated online eligibility checker to quicker discover what additional childcare support might be available to them.

The website: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk, is intended to help parents and carers through the changes to childcare legislation that will come into force over the next year.

From April 2024, eligible working parents of  two-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours childcare support.

From September 2024, 15 hours childcare support will be extended to eligible working parents of children from the age of nine months to three-year-olds.

From September 2025, eligible working parents of children under the age of five will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare a week.

The website will also give parents the opportunity to sign up for regular updates letting them know when they should take action to make sure they are getting the support they are entitled to. This includes when the new 15 free hours for two-year-olds shortly becomes available for sign-ups, with the offer beginning in April 2024.

This comes as the government rolls out the next stage of delivery of its childcare plan which is set to save working parents using 30 hours of childcare, up to £6,500 per year.

£100 million is being made available for local areas to support childcare settings in their areas to increase their physical space, anticipated to add thousands of new places across the country.

Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, said:  ‘No one should have to choose between having a career and having a family, so I’m determined that every parent who wants it should have access to the childcare they need.

‘Flexibility is at the heart of our plans to transform childcare for families, whether it’s offering quality childcare out of school hours or making sure there are more early years places where they’re needed most.

‘This is the largest investment in childcare in our history, so I encourage people with young children or those thinking about starting a family to visit the Childcare Choices website to find out what they’re eligible for.’

This measure comes as the Department for Work and Pensions recently announced an increase to the money parents receiving Universal Credit can claim per month for childcare, which is now up to £951 for one child or £1,630 for 2 or more children.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride, said: ‘Boosting employment is key to growing our economy, and the extra money provided for parents on Universal Credit will give them the flexibility and security they need to find a job, support their children and reap the benefits of work.

‘I encourage every parent to access this resource to see what help is available and to talk to one of the thousands of work coaches in our jobcentres who are there to help them find work or enhance their skills.

‘The childminder start-up grant scheme has also been confirmed to open for applications by Thursday 30 November 2023. This grant of £600 for those who choose to register with Ofsted and £1,200 for those who choose to register with a childminder agency will help to boost the numbers of childminders working to offer parents more flexible childcare.’

image: Stable Diffusion Online

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