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Funded childcare for low-income families

Derbyshire families on a low income or on certain benefits can get up to 15 hours of funded childcare per week for their 2-year-olds.

Boy on a skateboard pretending it is a rocket

Your 2-year-old can get 15 hours of funded childcare if you live in England and get one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit (or both) and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • 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)

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

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

If you're a non-European Economic Area citizen who cannot claim benefits

If your immigration status says you have 'no recourse to public funds', you may still get free childcare for your 2-year-old. You must live in England and your household income must be no more than:

  • £26,500 for families outside of London with one child
  • £34,500 for families within London with one child
  • £30,600 for families outside of London with 2 or more children
  • £38,600 for families within London with 2 or more children

You cannot have more than £16,000 savings or investments.

When to apply and when funding starts if eligible

You can apply when your child is 18-months-old however we will not be able to check your eligibility until the term before the funding would be available.

When to apply for funding and when funding starts
Born betweenCode can be issuedFunding begins
1 January to 31 March From January Summer term - April
1 April to 31 August From April Autumn term - September
1 September to 31 December From September Spring term - January

If eligible the funding is available from the start of the term that follows your child's second birthday, if this date has passed it will be from the date of successful application.

The funding will then remain in place until your child is eligible for their 3 and 4-year-old funding, even if your circumstances change and you no longer meet the eligibility criteria.

This funding can be accessed in different ways:

  • up to 15 hours per week over 38 weeks of the year (term time only)
  • up to 11 hours over 51 weeks by stretching funding to cover school holidays

These options depend upon the childcare provider's vacancies and individual circumstances, so please discuss options directly with them.

How to apply

The quickest way to apply is by completing the online application form.

Apply for early years funding for 2-year-olds

Or you can:

  • text 'Child' to 86555 (texts cost 10p)
  • tel: 01629 535793 from 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday

The Family Information Service will process your application and if you are found eligible for the funding they will email you a 6-digit eligibility code with your child's funding start date.

You'll need to present the code as proof of your eligibility to your chosen childcare provider before your child can take up a funded place. Your provider will then arrange for your child to start with them.

How to find a childcare place

There is a choice of early education providers such as a school nursery class, preschool playgroup, private day nursery or childminder. You can search approved providers on the childcare directory to find a place.

Search for childcare near you

If you need any support finding a place to meet your needs contact The Family Information Service by email:, or tel: 01629 535793.

Will I have to pay anything for my child's early education place?

Your child's early education place is paid for by the government, however, schools and childcare providers can charge for meals, consumables (such as nappies and sun cream), additional activities (such as trips) or additional hours (hours that are taken over and above the funded entitlement hours).

Where a parent chooses to pay for additional hours, this is a private arrangement between the parent and the school or childcare provider.

Schools and childcare providers should be open and transparent about any additional charges prior to a child taking up a place, so parents have a clear choice and know the cost of any extras they may wish to purchase.


If you have any questions about the funded childcare for 2-year-olds, please contact the Families Information Service by: