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Contact a Family secures funding to boost families’ knowledge of early year entitlements

Tuesday 11th April 2017

Contact a Family has successfully secured over £360,000 from the Department for Education to help parent carers understand more about how they can access quality childcare for their disabled child from nurseries and childminders.

We will use the money, announced today by Early Years Minister Caroline Dinenage, to carry out workshops in a number of local authority areas across England to help raise parent carers' awareness about their Early Years entitlements.

The announcement forms part of the government's overall commitment to offer working families 30 hours free childcare from September.

Today's announcement also included the creation of thousands of new childcare places for working parents.

Katie Barron, Contact a Family's head of regions, says: "We are delighted to receive this funding, which we will use to encourage families with young disabled children aged three-four to take up the free 30 hour entitlement.

" Research we have published [PDF] showed that around 40 per cent of families of children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities are not accessing the free childcare offer - ten times more than families with non-disabled children.

"This money will help us deliver specially-designed workshops, resources and helpline advice to boost parent carers' understanding of the availability of early years support and their confidence in it."

Additional information

The government recently launched a new website to help parents find all the government-funded childcare offers, including the two new offers: 30 hours free childcare and Tax-Free Childcare.  

Contact a Family's early years webpage and early years factsheet [PDF] describes how children with SEN are supported in early years settings and what you can do if you are worried about your child's learning and development.

We have lots of online advice about finding childcare and schemes to help with childcare costs.

We have advice on what to do if you've been refused childcare.

You can also download our legal guide [PDF], including templates on:

  • Challenging a childcare provider's failure to make reasonable adjustments.
  • Requesting 'top up' funding from a local authority when there is no legal duty on the childcare provider to make a reasonable adjustment.
  • Challenging a local authority's failure to make sure there is enough childcare provision in its area.

If you have further questions or concerns and would like to know more, please call our freephone helpline for further advice.