THE deadline is fast approaching for parents to claim 30 hours a week of funded childcare.
Places are available from January 1 for children who celebrate their third birthday between September 1 and December 31 2017.
To claim the funding parents must register at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk by December 31, but if they want everything in place for January they should also take the registration code and contact a childcare provider before the Christmas holidays to make arrangements.
Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Parents have 30 days to claim their 30 hours of weekly funded childcare.
“It seems a long time, but December is hectic for young families and I urge them to act today and have everything in place for the New Year.”
Places are also available for children who are already three or four years old but haven’t yet been registered.
To be eligible, both parents, or the parent in a single-parent family, must earn the equivalent of at least 16 hours a week at the national minimum wage, or living wage.
Mark Sutton added: “Having 30 hours of childcare funded every week makes a huge difference to families: it either puts money back in their pockets, allows people to go out and work extra hours, or changes their work-life balance.
“I’ve seen for myself some of the stories that parents have to tell about how this funded 30 hours’ childcare benefits them and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to claim what is theirs.
“In Staffordshire 96 percent of pre-school places are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, so parents can be confident this scheme helps them and helps their child get the best possible start before going to school.”
The 30 hours scheme was rolled out nationally in the autumn after being trialled in Staffordshire in 2016/17.