From September 2014, twice as many parents can claim 570 hours a year free child care for their two-year old – thanks to changes in the criteria that means that up to 864 two-year olds and their parents will benefit from this fantastic offer.
Currently, the government criteria mean that there are 396 two-year-olds eligible for the free places. But it has now widened the criteria.
Already this term (summer), North Lincolnshire Council has approved 401 places. A further 463 places have still to be claimed.
The free place can be used with an Ofsted registered child-minder, pre-school or nursery that has a good or better Ofsted judgement.
There are currently 77 providers in North Lincolnshire that are able to accept funded two-year-olds – that have a good or better Ofsted inspection judgement or are in an area where there is insufficient childcare at this standard so they are the only provider available.
Online at www.northlincs.gov.uk/eef
Call the family information service on 01724 296629
Visit your local children’s centre
You can apply now and if you meet the existing criteria you will be able to have a place straight away. If you meet new criteria your application will be processed from July onwards.
The council has organised a series of information sessions taking place during July at children’s centres across North Lincolnshire with the launch of the first one taking place on Wednesday 2 July at Ashby Children’s Centre (9.30am to 11.30am). For more details, visit www.northlincs.gov.uk.
There are several new childcare providers opening soon, including The Toy Box on Ashby Road, Scunthorpe. For more details visit: www.northlincs.gov.uk.
Councillor Rob Waltham, cabinet member for People at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “The cost of childcare can be expensive, so the new criteria will mean that twice as many two-year-olds can benefit from free places, helping relief the financial burden for many parents.
“All our providers deliver the early year’s foundation stage and this provides a valuable experience for your child to learn through play. They will have fun in a safe and nurturing environment and it will help them socialise and make friends.
“In addition to giving the child a new experience, the childcare allows parents/carers to have a bit more time to spend with their other children, visit a local children’s centre or take up training and/or employment.”
To be eligible, parents/carers need to meet just one of the following criteria:
New criteria from September 2014:
In receipt of working tax credits and have an annual gross earnings of no more than £16,190 per year.
Current and continuing criteria:
In receipt of:
Income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA)
Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
Support through part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act
The guaranteed element of state pension credit
Child tax credit (but not working tax credit) and have an annual income not over £16,190
The working tax credit four-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for working tax credit)
In the families who do not meet the financial criteria but where the child meets any one of the following:
Have a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan
Attract disability living allowance
Are looked after by their local authority
Have left care through special guardianship or through an adoption or residence order