Services for Young Children

Help with paying for childcare and other family support

When starting or raising a family parents and carers can receive help with costs.

The table below shows what support parents and carers are entitled to, if certain criteria are met.

Click on the 'Paying for childcare' tab, to find out what help is specifically available for this.

Child Benefit

What is it?

  • Payment to support many families with children up to the age of 19 if they are in full time education or approved training.

  • Paid for most children though dependent on whether the individual applying earns £50K or more.

  • Parents earning over £50K might be affected by a tax charge in order to receive the benefit.

How much?

  • £20.70 per week for the eldest child from April 2015.

  • £13.70 per week for each additional child from April 2015.

How to apply


Child Tax Credit

What is it?

  • Payment to support families with children up to the age of 19 if they are in full time education or approved training.

  • If parent singularly (or jointly with a partner) is responsible for at least one child and earns less than £40k it is possible that they are entitled to this.

  • Parents can check online whether they are entitled to tax credits or other benefits.

How much?

  • Dependent on family income.

  • The maximum 'child element' is £2,780 for each child as at 2015/16.

  • Extra help available for a child with a disability.

How to apply

If you are a working parent check out the Working parents section for other support through Tax Credits.

Child (and Working) Tax Credits have started to be replaced by Universal Credit across the Country.

For families there is an Universal Credit questions and answers leaflet.


Early Years Education

See here for further details.


Paying for childcare


Specified Adult Childcare Credits

What is it?

The weekly Class 3 National Insurance credit can be awarded to grandparents and other family members aged 16 or over, but under State Pension age, who care for a child (or children) aged under 12 usually because the child’s parents are working. The parent must be entitled to, but not need, their parents credit (linked to their claim for child benefit) and be willing to pass on the credit to the family member looking after their child.

How to apply

Applications can only be made after the end of the tax year in which they were caring.

There is no upper time limit for applying but it is in the customer’s interest to make a timely application.

Specified Adult Childcare Credits further information


Tax-Free Childcare

What is it?

Tax-Free Childcare is a new scheme which will be phased in from early 2017 and will offer working families 20% support towards qualifying childcare costs. It will replace the Employer Supported Childcare Scheme, sometimes also known as the Childcare Voucher Scheme.

The scheme is available for children up to the age of 12. It will also be available for children with disabilities up to the age of 17, as their childcare costs can stay high throughout their teenage years.

To qualify, parents will have to be in work, and each earning around £115 a week and not more than £100,000 each per year. Tax-Free Childcare doesn’t rely on employers offering the scheme, unlike the current scheme Employer-Supported Childcare. Any working family can use Tax-Free Childcare (including self-employed), provided they meet the eligibility requirements.

How much?

For every 80p you (or someone else) pays into your child’s  childcare account, the government will top up an extra 20p.This is equivalent of the tax most people pay - 20% - which gives the scheme its name, ‘tax-free’. The government will top up the account with 20% of childcare costs up to a total of £10,000 - the equivalent of up to £2,000 support per child per year (or £4,000 for disabled children).

How to apply

You’ll be able to open an online account, which you can pay into for covering the cost of childcare with a registered provider. This can be done through the government website. At the same time you will be able to check whether you are also eligible for additional free hours of early years education for 3 and 4 year olds (30 hours childcare).

The scheme will be rolled out gradually to families, with parents of the youngest children able to apply first. You’ll be able to apply for all your children at the same time, when your youngest child becomes eligible. All eligible parents will be able to join the scheme by the end of 2017.

Tax-free childcare – 10 things parents should know

Childcare Savings Calculators

Not sure whether to stay with your Employer Supported Childcare or change to Tax-Free Childcare? The following calculators may be useful:

Childcare Savings Calculator

Tax Free Childcare Calculator

Tax free childcare versus childcare voucher savings calculator