Extension of 30 hours to children in foster care | Free early education for 3 and 4 year olds | Oldham Council

4. Extension of 30 hours to children in foster care

From September 2018, 30 hours free childcare has been extended to children in foster care where the foster parents meet the following criteria:

  • That accessing the extended hours is consistent with the child’s care plan, placing the child at the centre of the process and decision making, and  
  • That, in single foster parent families, the foster parent holds additional paid employment outside of their role as a foster carer 
  • And in two foster parent families, both partners hold additional paid employment outside of their role as a foster carer. 

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:

The application process

Please download and complete the application form. 

Alternatively you can request a copy from The Free Entitlement Team who can be contacted on 0161 770 3163 or free.entitlement@oldham.gov.uk.

Foster parents must inform the child’s social worker when they start the application process.

Applications will be assessed within 2 weeks from receipt of application.

Evidence of eligibility required with the application form will be either:

If one partner is not a foster parent, there will need to be a check that the partner is meeting the normal income requirements for 30 hours. I.e. they must be in qualifying paid work and earn a minimum of the equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum/national living wage. In this circumstance, the following additional information will be required:

The Foster Service Team Manager who is the local authority’s nominated designated person will assess the application.

Issuing an eligibility code

Once an application has been assessed and is eligible for the extended entitlement the Free Entitlement Team will generate a 30 hour code via the ECS (eligibility checking service) and issue the code to the foster parent, who will take this code the their chosen early years provider. This can be outside of the issuing local authority.

The Free Entitlement Team will also inform the child’s social worker when a 30 hour code has been issued. When a 30 hour free childcare place can be accessed

A foster parent can take up the 30 hours free childcare:

Date parent receives eligibility code Child can take up a funded place
Between 1 January to 31 March the term starting after 1 April
Between 1 April to 31 August the term starting after 1 September
Between 1 September to 31 December Between 1 September to 31 December

Reconfirmation

Foster parents will be required to reconfirm eligibility every three months by completing a simple declaration form supported by the following evidence:

The Free Entitlement Team will inform parents 4 weeks before they need to reconfirm their eligibility.

How to apply for 30 hours as a Foster Parent

Reconfirmation for 30 hours free childcare for foster parents

  • 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
    • Current payslip – if already in employment
    • Job offer letter – if returning to work within 31 days
    • Tax return – if self employed
      And:
    • Child’s care plan
    • Evidence of income – current payslip
    • at the start of the term following the child’s third birthday; and
    • at the start of the term after they have received an eligibility code as follows:
    • Updated evidence of earnings
    • Confirmation that accessing 30 hours is still consistent with the child’s care plan