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“Take-up has never been higher” How you could benefit from free childcare support

1:28 pm, Monday, 13th March 2023 - 1 year ago

Children and families

FAMILIES in North East Lincolnshire are benefitting from free childcare, statistics show.

According to the latest figures from the Department for Education, North East Lincolnshire ranked second against it’s 11 statistical neighbours for the up-take of free childcare for 2-year olds during last Autumn.

Under the Childcare Choices Scheme, anyone meeting the eligibility criteria can claim up to 15-hours of free childcare or early education for their 2-year old children.

The scheme is driven and promoted by North East Lincolnshire Council, and the local authority is keen for anyone eligible for the scheme to claim their entitlement.

The Council sits in second place in the Yorkshire and Humber Region for uptake of the scheme with 96%, out of 15 local authorities. The national average is 84%.

Councillor Margaret Cracknell, portfolio holder for children and education at North East Lincolnshire Council, said she’s proud of the effort that the team behind the scheme locally has made:

“I’m thrilled that we’ve once again smashed the previous achievement of 89%. This is testament to the hard work of the Council officers who make it their mission to encourage all those who are eligible for the scheme to claim their full entitlement.

“I would also like to say thank you to those childcare providers who work with us and support our families.

“The free childcare offer is so important to families. It gives them the chance to consider getting back into work or training without worrying about having to pay for childcare.

“I would urge anyone who has a young child and isn’t sure about whether they are entitled to any support to have a look at the childcare choices website or Gov.uk.”

Your 2-year-old may be eligible for free childcare if you live in England and receive one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • child tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

2-year-olds can also get free childcare if they:

  • are looked after by a local authority
  • have a statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • get Disability Living Allowance
  • have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order

You can check if you’re eligible at www.nelincs.gov.uk/two-year-old-funding. You may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 free hours per year. It’s usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, but you can choose to take fewer hours over more weeks, for example.

Some 3 to 4-year-olds are eligible for 30 hours free childcare a week.

There is now more help available to support families with their childcare costs than ever before.

To find out if you could be eligible for help with childcare costs visit www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

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