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Childcare applications for parents of 9-month-olds now open

Hundreds of thousands of families set to benefit as working parents of 9-month-olds can now apply for government-funded childcare for first time.

Parents of children from 9 months old can now apply to access government-funded childcare from September 2024, as England’s largest ever childcare expansion continues.

As of yesterday (Sunday 12 May), eligible working parents of children who will be 9 months old by 31st August can apply to access 15 hours of funded childcare a week – set to benefit hundreds of thousands of families across the country.

This is the second step in the government’s long-term plan to support hard-working parents to balance their family and career. As the successful launch of the offer in April demonstrates, this plan is working.

Since the launch of the offer, 211,027 2-year-olds are already benefitting from government-funded places, providing parents with financial support to return to work or increase their hours and kick-starting the government’s commitment to grow the economy through affordable access to quality childcare.

Working parents whose children will be aged between 9- and 23-months old on 31 August 2024 can apply for their government-funded childcare code via the childcare service, which they then take to their chosen childcare provider to validate. 

In this next stage, the historic rollout will deliver direct government support with childcare costs from the term after their child turns 9 months old, until they start school. By September 2025, support will increase to 30 government-funded hours a week, saving families an average of £6,900 per year.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak yesterday said:

“Last year we promised the biggest ever expansion in childcare provision in history and we are delivering. Over 210,000 children have already benefited from 15 hours of government funded care and parents of 9-month-olds can apply from today.

“Our full expansion will save parents an average of £6,900 a year, meaning no parent has to choose between their career and caring for their child.

“This will give working families the peace of mind that they will be supported, helping to build a brighter future for families and to grow our economy.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan yesterday said:

“Last month, we successfully delivered on our promise to expand free childcare to two-year-olds, with over 210,000 families now feeling the benefits.

“Last year, just two thirds of local authorities felt confident they could deliver the rollout for April, but with our support, 100% have done so. 

“That was only the beginning, and we will continue to support the sector so that every eligible parent can access the high-quality childcare they deserve.”

Parents on parental leave or starting a new job by the end of September 2024, can now apply for their childcare code 16 weeks before returning to work, extended from the original period of 31 days.

These parents are urged to apply online via the Childcare Service and will receive a letter in the post within one to two weeks, enabling them to get their code well in advance of provider deadlines.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott yesterday said:

“No parent should be forced to choose between looking after their children and having a successful career. 

“Backed by significant funding, we are providing hundreds of thousands of families across the country with access to high-quality childcare – making sure every child has the chance to fulfil their potential while also providing a boost to the economy.”

All local authorities have reported they are currently meeting the demand from parents for childcare places, and an increase of just 1% - 15,000 places – will be needed for September.

Last year, the number of childcare places already increased by around 15,000, and the number of staff by around 13,000, before direct government interventions to increase capacity.

The government is continuing to work closely with local authorities to deliver the rollout, including allocating £100 million of capital investment and an additional £12 million of delivery support.

This will build on continued growth over the last year, driven by higher average rates paid by government for the new entitlements than those paid by parents, and a commitment to further rate increases worth up to £500m for the next two years - giving providers the confidence to continue expanding.

Jason Elsom, Chief Executive of Parentkind yesterday said:

“As a father to a blended family of eight children, I know only too well the sacrifices that many parents make for their children.  The cost of childcare often leads many parents to go without, or even sacrifice their careers as it simply makes no sense to put two children in childcare at the cost of a whole salary.

“Many families will welcome the lifeline that this support offers.” 

Parents with a preferred provider are urged to speak to them directly about a place for September. Any who are struggling to find a place should contact their local authority, who will be able to help them find a provider in their area.

The application system requires parents to reconfirm their eligibility every three months, so parents new to the system, who apply before 1 June, will need to reconfirm their code prior to the offer starting in September.

Eligible parents with an existing Tax-Free Childcare account registered on the application system will be able to apply for a code at their next reconfirmation window.

To make sure every parent eligible for the September rollout can access the scheme, parents who had to reconfirm their eligibility before 12 May, and whose next application window opens on 9 June or later, will receive a letter from HMRC containing a code by 24 May.

Parents can check their eligibility before applying at or through our online eligibility checker tool at

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