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Children young people and families

Children's centres and childcare


There are many types of childcare which can include childminders, day nurseries, school nursery classes, out of school childcare and pre-schools.

Help paying for childcare

Three and four year olds

All three and four year olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of free early education or childcare a year. This is often taken as 15 hours per week over 38 weeks per year.

There is an additional 15 hours of free childcare (a total of 30 hours) for families where both parents are working for at least 16 hours a week.

Two year olds

Some two year olds may also be eligible for 570 hours free childcare a year, if parents claim certain benefits. Children who receive Disability Living Allowance or who have left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption are also entitled to two year old funding.

You can get help with childcare costs for children under 18. You might be able to apply for:

  • tax-free childcare
  • tax credits
  • Universal Credit
  • help while you study