30 hours of free childcare is available for 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 
  • 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.


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 8914 (Monday - Thursday, 9.30am to 12.30pm) or email 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 the application.

You will need to provide National Insurances number and evidence that you are engaging in paid work outside your role as a foster parent:

  • pay slips
  • evidence of self-employment (tax return)
  •  job offer letter

If one partner is not a foster parent they must be in paid work and earn a minimum of the equivalent to 16 hours at the national minimum/national living wage. 

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

Eligibility code

Once your application has been approved you will be given a code to take to your 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. 

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


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.