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Press release for Parents of 9-Month-Olds

government funded childcare

Childcare Applications Now Open for Parents of 9-Month-Olds

Millions to Benefit as New Government Scheme Takes Off

From: Department for Education, The Rt Hon Laura Trott MBE MP, The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, and The Rt Hon Gillian Keegan MP
Date Published: 12 May 2024

Starting today, parents of children as young as 9 months can apply for government-funded childcare starting from September 2024. This initiative marks a significant expansion in England’s childcare provision.

From this day forth, parents of children who will be 9 months old by 31 August can secure 15 hours of funded childcare weekly, aiding numerous families nationwide.

This initiative represents a crucial phase in the government’s strategy to assist diligent parents in managing both their professional and family lives. The successful April rollout showcased the efficacy of this plan.

Since the commencement of this initiative, 211,027 two-year-olds have benefited from these government-funded childcare places. This support has significantly helped parents either return to work or increase their working hours, fulfilling the government’s goal to enhance the economy through accessible, high-quality childcare.

Eligible parents of children between 9 and 23 months as of 31 August 2024 can apply for their childcare code through the childcare service. This code is to be presented to their chosen childcare provider for validation.

The forthcoming phase will extend direct government assistance with childcare costs starting the term after the child turns 9 months old, until school commencement. By September 2025, this will increase to 30 hours per week, saving families an average of £6,900 annually.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak remarked, “We are fulfilling our promise of the largest expansion in childcare provision ever seen. Over 210,000 children are already reaping the benefits of 15 hours of funded care, and now, parents of 9-month-olds are eligible to apply.”

He added, “This expansion is projected to save parents an average of £6,900 annually, ensuring that no parent must choose between their career and their children. This initiative will support working families, contributing to a brighter future and economic growth.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan noted, “Last month, we achieved our goal of extending free childcare to two-year-olds, with over 210,000 families now benefiting.”

“Initially, only two-thirds of local authorities were confident in their ability to implement the April rollout. However, with our support, 100% have succeeded. This is just the beginning, and we will persist in aiding every eligible parent to access the high-quality childcare they deserve.”

Parents on parental leave or starting new jobs by the end of September 2024 can now request their childcare code 16 weeks prior to their return to work, an increase from the initial 31-day period.

These parents should apply online through the Childcare Service and will receive a letter within one to two weeks, allowing ample time to secure their code ahead of provider deadlines.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Laura Trott, stated, “No parent should have to choose between caring for their children and pursuing a successful career. With substantial funding, we are providing numerous families across the nation with access to top-notch childcare, ensuring every child’s potential is maximized while also boosting our economy.”

All local authorities have reported sufficient capacity to meet the current demand for childcare places, with a minimal increase of 1% (approximately 15,000 places) needed by September.

The government continues to collaborate closely with local authorities to ensure the successful rollout of this initiative, including a £100 million capital investment and an additional £12 million in delivery support.

This will enhance growth over the last year, driven by higher average rates paid by the government for new entitlements compared to those paid by parents, and a commitment to further rate increases worth up to £500 million over the next two years, giving providers the confidence to expand.

Jason Elsom, Chief Executive of Parentkind, shared, “As a father to a blended family of eight, I understand the sacrifices many parents make. The high cost of childcare often forces parents to forego or even sacrifice their careers, as the expense of childcare for two children can equate to an entire salary.”

“Many families will find this support to be a critical lifeline.”

Parents with a preferred provider should directly discuss availability for September. Those facing difficulties in finding a place should contact their local authority for assistance.

The application system mandates parents to verify their eligibility every three months. New applicants who apply before 1 June must reconfirm their code before the offer commences in September.

Parents with existing Tax-Free Childcare accounts can apply for a code during their next eligibility confirmation period.

To ensure all eligible parents can access the scheme by September, those needing to reconfirm their eligibility before 12 May, with the next application window opening on 9 June or later, will receive a letter from HMRC containing a code by 24 May.

Parents can verify their eligibility at or through the online eligibility checker at

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