The Childcare Offer for Wales: Help with childcare costs for working parents of 3 to 4 year olds
Most working parents of 3 to 4 year old children could be getting government help with childcare costs.
Under the Childcare Offer for Wales, you could claim 30 hours of early education and childcare in Wales a week, for up to 48 weeks of the year. It aims to make life a bit easier for parents by offering help with childcare costs.
The Offer has already helped parents from all over Wales to return to work, increase their hours or work more flexibly. Others are taking training opportunities to develop their skills, change their job or even start their own business.
The aim is to give working parents a bit of extra money every month, to spend on the things that are important to their family.
Whatever the Offer means for you and your family, don’t miss out on your share of government help with childcare.
Applications for the Childcare Offer For Wales are open right now across Wales.
What’s included in the Offer?
The Welsh Government’s Childcare Offer for Wales means that most working parents of 3 to 4 year olds can now claim funds towards the cost of childcare.
This means 30 hours of early education and childcare in Wales for eligible parents.
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 exact amount of childcare you get depends on how much early education your local authority offers – your local Family Information Service can let you know what the Offer means for you in your area.
It’s available for 48 weeks of the year, meaning that the Offer can help you with childcare cover for some of the school holidays.
Hundreds of nurseries, child minders, Cylch Meithrin, playgroups and crèches are now on board with the Offer, which means you can choose a childcare provider that best meets you and your child’s needs. The Offer is available whether you want to access English, Welsh or bilingual childcare.
Pre-school is a great time to start your child’s bilingual journey, so if you would like to find out more about the benefits of your child learning Welsh, please see Cymraeg i Blant.
What would you do with a bit of extra money every month?
Whether it helps towards paying for the essentials, or gives you the chance to go on family day out, we want to help working parents to have a bit of extra money to pay for the things that are important to their family.
But for fun, we wanted to see what Welsh toddlers would do with a bit of extra money and there were some surprising answers…
What does it mean for me as a parent?
If you have a 3 or 4 year old, you are entitled to receive government help with childcare costs – a combined total of 30 hours of childcare and early education per week for up to 48 weeks of the year. How the hours are split depends on the provision by your Local Authority.
What is early education?
All children are entitled to early education (Foundation Phase Nursery) from the term after their third birthday. All local authorities provide a minimum of 10 hours per week early education, either in the local school or in a setting like a playgroup, a day nursery or a Cylch Meithrin.
During term time, this early education will be part of the Offer’s 30 hours. During the school holidays, when there is no early education, the Offer will provide 30 hours a week of childcare for eligible parents, for up to nine weeks.
Your local Family Information Service will be able to help you find a registered provider that offers the service that meets your needs when accessing your 30 hours in Wales.More information about the Foundation Phase can be found on GOV.WALES.
What if my child has additional needs?
Government help with childcare is available to all eligible parents but you and/or your provider may wish to contact your local authority who should be able to provide advice and details of any additional support available.
Will I have to pay for anything?
The Offer funds a maximum of 30 hours of early education and childcare in Wales per week for up to 48 weeks of the year. The funding from the government is for the education and care the professionals within the setting provide. It does not include food, transport or off-site activities that incur an extra charge and providers will be able to charge you for these.
The cost of transport will depend on where you live and how far they have to travel. Providers should not charge more than £7.50 per day for food or £4.75 for half a day (including lunch).
Do I have to use all 30 hours per week?
No. You can choose how much of the 30 hours you use for up to 48 weeks of the year. However, if you do not use all of your 30 hours in one week, you cannot use them in another week. You cannot swap education hours for childcare hours, or childcare hours for education hours. You can pay for additional hours of childcare yourself based on a private contract between you and your childcare provider.