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How our helpline is achieving childcare success

Monday 18th September 2017

From this September 2017, working families of three and four year olds in England are entitled to an extra 15 hours of free childcare. This is on top of the existing 15 hours of free early education for all parents of three and four year olds and some two year olds.

The 30 hours free childcare offer is worth around £5,000 per child. We have produced a new webpage on eligibility for the new 30 hours free childcare offer.

A Contact helpline success story

Here our helpline manager, Jill Davies, explains how we're helping parents secure the 30 hour entitlement when a local authority refuses to fund a place:

"We have been advising Izzy who has had difficulty securing the 30 hour early years provision for her son, Dominic who has complex needs. She had agreed to split the 30 hours between a specialist nursery and private day nursery from this September.

"The day nursery were happy for him to continue there, but could only accept him if the local authority agreed to provide additional funding for a 1-1 assistant, as their 1:8 staff child ratio would not have been sufficient to support him and ensure safety of the other children in the group.

"Initially the local authority refused to provide the additional funding, arguing that Dominic was already in a part time specialist placement. We advised her to challenge her local authority on equality grounds, as this decision would have prevented her from taking up the 30 hour childcare entitlement she was eligible for, and put her at a disadvantage compared to other eligible parents who do not have disabled children."

Izzy talks about how we helped her secured the 30 hour offer for Dominic:

"The Contact helpline provided invaluable support to enable us to get 1:1 support for our son in a private day nursery which allowed our family benefit from the 30 hour offer just like other families. 

"The team recommended that I challenge the local authority as there is a duty to make reasonable adjustments so disabled children can access childcare.  I used the webpage called Refused Childcare and a template letter to write to the local authority.

"Over the last few weeks Contact has been helping me by phone and email as the situation progressed. Together we have secured the funding. I especially like the fact that the helpline is open over the holidays when no one else is. I have also made a donation to this great charity."

How to apply for the government's new childcare offers

The website https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk/par/app/applynow allows parents to apply for the government's new childcare offers, as well as providing details of existing government childcare offers.

You can also read about the different options at https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/ 

Related items

See our legal guide and template letters (This is written for the 15 hour offer, but can also be used for the 30 hours entitlement).