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Help with childcare costs

The Government help with childcare costs for parents. Whether you have toddlers or teens, you could get support. Have a look at their Childcare Choices website to find out the different ways you can get help paying for your childcare.

Funded childcare for all 3 and 4 year olds

In September 2017 the government extended the funded early education and childcare entitlement from 15 to 30 hours per week (for 38 weeks, or 1140 hours per year) for eligible 3 and 4 year old children. You can find out more about this offer in the Childcare Choices factsheet.

Check your eligibility and apply

Eligibility for 30 hours of funded childcare is checked by the government. You can find out more about the eligibility criteria and how to apply on their website.

Speak to your provider

Talk to your childcare provider about your childcare needs and find out if they are offering 30 hours (not all providers are able to offer 30 hours and some childminders don’t accept any funding).

You can share your funded childcare between more than one provider, as long as you do not exceed 30 hours per week or 1140 hours per year.

Ask if the funding can be used during term-time only or stretched all year round. If you choose to stretch your funding this will give you fewer hours over more weeks of the year.

Some providers may charge for additional services or activities not covered by the 30 hours funding. These may include food and drinks or activities such as yoga and music. Ask your provider for a price list for any additional charges.

Pinpoint Devon has a list of providers who have confirmed they are offering the 30 hours.

Confirm your place

If you are eligible, you will receive an 11 digit code to take directly to your participating childcare provider. Your childcare provider will check the code and confirm your eligibility.

You should receive a contract or registration form to confirm your funded hours, chargeable hours and any optional services.

Once you have received your 11 digit code you can find it again in your Childcare service account using the green ‘Apply or sign into your account’ button and answer questions about your youngest child’s age and then sign in using your Government Gateway ID, which you received when you applied.

You will need to sign into your account to re-confirm your eligibility every three months.

Funded childcare for some 2-year olds

Your 2-year-old is eligible for funded childcare if you receive any of the following benefits:

  • Universal Tax Credits
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit – if you and your partner have a combined income from work of less than £15,400 a year after tax
  • Child Tax Credit with an annual household taxable income (as assessed by HMRC) not over £16,190
  • Working Tax Credits with an annual household taxable income (as assessed by HMRC) not over £16,190
  • The Working Tax Credit 4 weeks run on
  • Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Or if your 2-year-old:

  • attracts Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • is looked after by the Local Authority
  • has left care through special guardianship or through an adoption order or residence order or
  • has a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan.

We receive information from the Department for Work and Pensions about families who may be eligible and we then contact you to let you know that your two-year old may be entitled to 15 hours of funded childcare and early education at a preschool, nursery of childminder of your choice.

You will be sent either:

  • A ‘Golden Ticket’ – your child is entitled to funding, all you need to do is take your ticket to your chosen nursery, pre-school or childminder.
  • A ‘Purple postcard’ –  your child may be entitled to funding, but you need to check your eligibility online. If you are eligible you will be given a number starting ‘TYF878’ and sent a letter to take to your chosen nursery, pre-school or childminder.

Only providers judged as good or outstanding by Ofsted will be funded to admit 2-year-olds. Occasionally, if there are not enough good or outstanding places in an area, a provider with a ‘requires improvement’ outcome will be funded. Pinpoint Devon has a list of approved providers offering funded places for 2- year- olds.

If you have not received anything but think you may be eligible, you can check your eligibility and apply at on the Devon County Council website or call 0345 155 1013.

If you have checked your eligibility and think the result is incorrect please contact us on 01392 385530 and then email with evidence.

If you are the parent of an adopted child or a foster child where the child is in the care of another local authority please contact us on 01392 385530 or email

If you are concerned that a child is being abused please call

0345 155 1071

or email

If it’s an emergency call 999


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