From September 2018, 30 hours free childcare has been extended to children in foster care where the foster parents meet the following criteria:
- Accessing the extended hours is consistent with the child’s care plan, placing the child at the centre of the process and decision making
- That in a single parent family the foster parent is taking up paid work outside of their fostering role
- In two parent foster families, both partners engage in paid work outside of their fostering role.If one partner is not a foster parent then they must be in qualifying paid work and earn a minimum of the equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum/national living wage
There is no requirement on the type of work or number of hours that a foster parent must work in order to access the 30 hours and there is no minimum earnings limit.
The entitlement amounts to 1140 hours over a year. It can be used up to 30 hours a week during term time (38 weeks) or for fewer hours per week spread over more weeks of the year.
It can be taken in the same variety of settings as the existing 15 hours free entitlement for three and four year-olds: day nurseries, nursery classes in schools, childminders, playgroups and pre-schools.
Childcare providers must be listed in Oldham Council’s Directory of Approved Providers. The hours can be split over more than one childcare provider.
The responsibility of the local authority
The responsible local authority is the authority who is looking after the child and is therefore the child’s corporate parent. The funding local authority is the authority in which the child is taking up their place and who is paying the provider.
The responsible local authority will:
- Confirm the foster carer is eligible for 30 hours free childcare and is consistent with the child’s care plan
- Issue the 30 hours eligibility code, this will begin with 400
- Inform foster carers when they need to reconfirm eligibility, this will be 4 weeks before the reconfirmation date