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You could get up to 30 hours a week of childcare or early education if your child is 3 or 4 years.

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First published:
23 May 2019
Last updated:

‘The childcare offer for Wales’ provides working parents with a mixture of childcare and early education for children aged 3 or 4. 

Early education is also known as ‘Foundation Phase nursery’. It is mainly provided by schools where children learn through play.

Childcare eligible to be paid for by the Childcare Offer for Wales includes:

  • nurseries
  • child minders
  • playgroups
  • crèche
  • out of school child care

You can choose your own childcare provider that meets your child’s needs.


If a nanny looks after your child, you cannot pay them using the Childcare Offer.

You could get other support if your nanny is registered under the Welsh Government’s voluntary approval scheme.

There is more information on the Care Inspectorate Wales website for parents thinking about hiring a nanny and for individuals considering approval as a nanny.


  • your child must be aged 3 or 4 years old
  • you must earn at least the National Minimum Wage or living Wage for 16 hours a week on average
  • each parent must earn less than £100,000 per year
  • parents of lone parent families need to be working
  • parents of two parent families must both be working
  • parents who are self-employed or on a zero hours contract need prove their status and provide relevant documents
  • parents who are employed or self- employed but are on statutory leave for example, maternity leave
  • foster carers, kinship carers and parents on adoption leave may also be eligible

Check if you're eligible for the Childcare Offer for Wales.

How much you could get

You could get up to 30 hours a week of early education and childcare.

The 30 hours is made up of a minimum of 10 hours of early education a week and a maximum of 20 hours a week of childcare. 

The amount of childcare you get depends on how much early education your local authority offers.

Will it affect my benefits

Any funding you get from us towards your childcare costs could affect other benefits you get.

Universal Credit

You cannot use the childcare costs part of Universal Credit for hours of childcare funded by us. You can, however claim Universal Credit childcare costs for any additional childcare you need to pay for. This can be for either your 3 or 4 year old or any other child in your household.

If you get the childcare part of Universal Credit you need to report any changes in your family or work life to DWP on GOV.UK.

Tax Credits

You can still receive Tax Credits at the same time as receiving the childcare offer.

Tax Credits are worked out based on how much you earn and an estimate of your childcare costs. Receiving the childcare offer may lead to an increase in your income. For example if you can work more hours, or a reduction in your childcare costs. This means that you may receive less tax credits.

If you get Tax Credits you need to report any changes in your family or work life to HMRC on GOV.UK. This includes funding from us to help pay for childcare costs.

Tax-Free Childcare

You can use Tax-Free Childcare and still receive the childcare offer for any additional hours of childcare you need.

If you get Tax-Free Childcare you need to reconfirm your details every 3 months.

You may be able to use Tax-Free Childcare to pay for extra costs such as food, transport and retainer fees.

You cannot use Tax-Free Childcare if you receive Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit.

Before you apply

Check that your chosen childcare provider is registered with a regulator. In Wales the regulator and inspectorate for childcare is Care Inspectorate Wales, in England Ofsted.


Apply for the Childcare Offer for Wales

If you are not eligible you may be able to get other childcare support. 


For help and support contact your local Family Information Service.