Devon parents encouraged to access free childcare

PUBLISHED: 14:31 07 March 2016 | UPDATED: 13:16 30 March 2016

County Hall in Exeter.

County Hall in Exeter.

Archant

Devon County Council (DCC) is encouraging parents to take up the opportunity to have free child care for their two-year-olds.

Sidmouth floods. The high ford made Millford Road impassable. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 7797-48-12AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24 Sidmouth floods. The high ford made Millford Road impassable. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 7797-48-12AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

The authority provides funding to childcare and early years education providers for families in receipt of certain benefits so they can have a free place.

Many parents are unaware of the funding, or of the benefits that child care can provide so the council is writing to those who are eligible.

‘Golden Tickets’ are being posted next week, worth up to 15 hours a week child care during term time, or 570 hours free child care over the year, at approved day nurseries, school nurseries, child minders and pre schools.

It represents a saving of £2,781.60 in childcare fees, based on the funding rate from Friday, April 1.

Funding is available for children whose family receive certain benefits, have a household income under £16,190, or if the child has a disability, special educational need or if they are adopted or placed under a residency order.

Councillor James McInnes, DCC’s cabinet member with responsibility for early years provision, said: “We currently provide funding for about 1,925 free childcare places, but we know that there are some families who are eligible for it who may not be aware.

“This promotion is aimed at people who we know are eligible for the funding, and it’s designed to encourage them to take up the placements.

“The funding provides an opportunity for children to make new friends and learn through play in specially approved childcare settings. It is also intended to support parents who want to use the time to access training, study or return to work.”

If parents do not receive a Golden Ticket and feel that they are eligible, they can check their own eligibility online at: www.devon.gov.uk/2gether or by calling 01392 385530.

Children are eligible to receive the arly Years Education Funding from the start of the term after their second birthday for a maximum of three funding periods. If circumstances change the funding still continues. Once funded the two-year-old carries on until they start to receive the Early Years Entitlement funding from the term after their third birthday.

A list of early years providers is available at https://new.devon.gov.uk/educationandfamilies/early-years-and-childcare/devon-family-information-directory.

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