The Childcare Offer For Wales (30 hours Childcare)

The Childcare Offer for Wales (30 hours Childcare) – Update August 2020.

The Childcare Offer for Wales will be opening again for applications. Applications for parents eligible for the Offer from April 2020 can apply from the 14th August.

Parents who would have been eligible for the Offer from April 2020 (the summer term) will be able to take up the Offer from the start of the autumn term in their local authority, if still eligible.

Parents whose child becomes eligible for the Offer in September will be able to apply from 1st September. Please note funding cannot be received until the application has been completed and a start date issued. Funding will not be backdated.

If your application was approved and your child was due to start the Offer from April you will need to resubmit evidence of your salary (and address evidence if you have moved). Please email this along with your child’s full name and date of birth to ChildcareOffer@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

If you were due to start the Offer in April and haven’t submitted an application please apply here http://bit.ly/ChildcareOfferTorfaen2020 

 

What is the Childcare Offer?

The Childcare Offer for Wales is a Welsh Government initiative and will provide eligible working parents with 30 hours childcare for 3-4 year olds only.

 

How many hours of Childcare am I eligible for?

The 30 hours childcare is a combination of Foundation Phase Nursery (FPN) (between 10 – 12.5 hours) and childcare (between 17.5 – 20 hours), for up to 48 weeks per year.

Parents are not required to access their early education entitlement as a prerequisite to accessing the childcare element of the offer, however, their entitlement will include these hours whether they access them or not.

If additional Foundation Phase Nursery hours are offered/accepted the amount of childcare hours will be reduced accordingly.

 

Who is eligible for the Offer?

Eligible working parents will need to be earning the equivalent of 16 hours at national minimum wage, national living wage or more, and be a resident in Torfaen. An upper income cap for working parents is set at £100,000. If part of a couple, both parents must be working and meet this requirement. If either parent earns above this upper income cap, they will not be eligible for the offer.

Where parents have separated but do not share equal custody of the child, the parent with primary custody will be eligible to take up the offer (if they meet the eligibility criteria). Where parents share equal custody one parent will need to be nominated as the lead parent for the offer.

Parents, guardians, step-parents and live-in partners will all need to meet the eligibility criteria in order for a child living within that household to be able to take up the offer.

Information for parents who were once eligible for the Childcare Offer but who, as a result of the impact of Covid-19 in the period March – 31 August 2020, no longer meet the income eligibility criteria (although they remain eligible in every other way)

If a parent has fallen out of eligibility because, as a result of Covid-19, their income has fallen below 16 hours at the applicable minimum wage or gone above £100k gross temporarily, they can continue to receive the Offer until the end of October. This broadly aligns with the closure of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme on 19 October and the furlough scheme which closes at the end of October.

Examples of reasons why a parent may have fallen out of eligibility temporarily during this period could include:

  • They have been furloughed but their substantive earnings (what they used to earn before furlough) meets the income eligibility criteria for the Offer;
  • They are on Statutory Sick Pay;
  • They are still employed but have taken unpaid leave to care for others, other than a child eligible for the Offer;
  • They are working fewer hours than they would normally;
  • They are in receipt of payments from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

 

Information for parents applying for the Offer for the first time – who would normally have met the income eligibility criteria for the Childcare Offer but who don’t know as a result of Covid-19

Parents applying for the Offer for the first time from September 2020, will be considered eligible if they can evidence to the local authority that they would normally meet the eligibility criteria for the Offer.

Parents will need to evidence that, as a result of Covid-19, their earnings in January or February 2020 met the income eligibility criteria for the Offer but that they have seen a reduction in income since then (for example) because:

  • They have been furloughed but their substantive earnings (what they used to earn before furlough) meets the income eligibility criteria for the Offer;
  • They are on Statutory Sick Pay or Sick Pay;
  • They are still employed but have taken unpaid leave to care for others, other than a child eligible for the Offer;
  • They are working fewer hours than they would normally;
  • They are in receipt of payments from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

 

In the case of established self-employed parents, they will need to provide their most recent Self-Assessment return as proof of earning before the pandemic or provide a forward projection of how they will meet the minimum income threshold over the next year. A newly established self-employed parent will be exempt from the minimum earnings threshold for the first 12 months following the establishment of the business.

Exceptions to eligibility:

There are some circumstances in which parents will be able to access the offer when they don’t meet the eligibility criteria:

  • Where one or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay or are in receipt of statutory maternity / paternity pay.
  • Where one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits or has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring;
  • Newly self-employed parents
  • Kinship carers, family and friends carers who have taken responsibility for a child or step child who is not their own because:
  1. The child has no parents or has parents who are unable to care for the child
  2. It is likely that the child would otherwise be looked after by a local authority because of concerns in relation to the child’s welfare

 

Can I use more than one childcare provider?

Yes you can use up to TWO registered childcare settings per day in addition to their nursery education setting in any given day during term time. You can use only use two registered childcare settings during school holidays.

 

How much childcare can I access during school holidays?

The Childcare Offer will cover up to 48 weeks per year, this includes 9 weeks of school holidays. During 9 weeks of these school holidays parents can apply up to 30 hours of funded childcare.

During an academic school year parents could be entitled to 39 weeks of Foundation Phase Nursery Education and funded childcare. However parents can only access funded childcare for 9 out of the 13 school holiday weeks. Therefore parents could be responsible for fees outstanding during, both, term time and school holidays.

Parents can choose which holiday periods they would like to use, however holiday weeks are limited to 3 weeks per term. Parents are advised to speak to their childcare provider to ensure they know how many hours they are claiming during some holiday periods.

 

How do I apply?

If you have checked the eligibility criteria and your child was due to start the Offer in April you can apply online at Childcare Offer Torfaen

You do not need to apply if you have already submitted an application, however you will be required to provide updated evidence of your income. Please email this along with your child’s full name and date of birth to ChildcareOffer@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk . If your child is due to start the Offer in September, you will not be able to apply until 1st September.

In order to complete the application you will need to submit copies of:

  • Childs birth certificate or Passport
  • Proof of address, this could be a utility bill or council tax bill
  • Last three months wage slips. (If part of a couple you must each provide your last three months’ wage slips, or self-employed earnings evidence. However, if one of you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you will need to provide evidence of this).

Please visit our Facebook page  www.Facebook.com/TorfaenFIS for updates about the offer.

Please note that children whose 3rd birthday is between between 1stApril – 31st August will not be eligible for the offer until the September.

 

How long does the application process take?

If you have submitted an application you can typically expect acknowledgement of your application from Blaenau Gwent Childcare Team within 20 working days.

Parents will be issued with a unique reference number and a childcare booking form that will need to be completed with your chosen childcare setting. Please note that funding for the offer will not begin until a start date has been confirmed and the application process has been completed. Funding will not be back dated.

If you have any queries about the status of your application please contact  Blaenau Gwent Childcare Offer Team on 01495 355584 or by Email ChildcareOffer@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk.

For general inquiries about the Childcare Offer call Torfaen Family Information Service Freephone 0800 0196 330 or email fis@torfaen.gov.uk

Frequently asked questions regarding the childcare offer, including eligibility criteria can be found here.

Please find the announcement provided by Welsh Government.

We recently spoke with parents at Meithrinfa Pontnewydd. We asked them how the Welsh Government funded 30-hour Childcare Offer has benefitted their family. If you think you are eligible for the offer, applications can be made online. You will need to submit evidence such as proof of earnings, proof of address and child’s birth certificate/child’s passport. For further information about eligibility criteria, how to apply and latest updates, please visit the Torfaen Family Information Service website – torfaenfis.org.uk

Posted by Torfaen on Friday, 27 September 2019