Free nursery places are waiting to be snapped up in North Lincolnshire.
North Lincolnshire Council fears parents are missing out on free nursery places for their two-year-olds.
The Government has widened the criteria to enable more parents to benefit. From September 2014, twice as many parents can claim the free child care for their two-year-old.
The criteria includes: Families receiving working tax credits and/or child tax credits with an annual income no more than £16,190 and receiving out-of-work benefits.
Also, the child must have a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan, attracts Disability Living Allowance, is looked after by their local council and has left care through special guardianship or through an adoption or residence order.
Currently 577 children have their free place secured for September 2014, but applications can continue to be submitted all year round.
The free places can be used with an Ofsted registered child minder, pre-school or nursery that has a good or better Ofsted judgement.
There are currently 80 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 child care at this standard so they are the only provider available.
Rob Waltham, cabinet member for people at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “Child care can be expensive and eat into the family budget. “Thanks to the Government, we are giving parents and carers the chance to send their two-year-old to nursery – free of charge. This is a fantastic offer which has widened the criteria to ensure twice as many toddlers can benefit.
“We have had a good response so far with over 570 parents applying, but there are still many places waiting to be snapped up. If you have a two-year old and would like to take advantage of this fantastic offer, please get in touch.”
Apply online at www.northlincs.gov.uk/eef or call the family information service on 01724 296629.