Claiming 30 hours free childcare as a foster parent

About claiming 30 hours as a foster parent.

What is 30 hours?

Working parents of three and four year olds in England may be entitled to up to 30 hours of childcare, for 38 weeks of the year (or fewer hours over more weeks). This is an additional 15 hours of childcare on top of the 15 hours universal entitlement for all three and four year olds in England (the term after their third birthday). Children in foster care are already entitled to the universal 15 hours.

Am I eligible?

Children in foster care who are aged three or four year old will be able to receive 30 hours childcare, if the following criteria are met:

  • Accessing the extended hours is consistent with the child’s care plan; and
  • That, in single parent foster families, the foster parent engages in paid work outside their role as a foster parent; or
  • In two parent foster families, both partners engage in paid work outside their role as a foster parent. If one partner is not a foster parent then they must be in qualifying paid work and earn a minimum of the equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum/national living wage.

You should start by discussing this with the local authority responsible for the child (child’s corporate parent) in Salford this is the child’s social worker.

How do I apply?

You will need to apply through the local authority that is responsible for the child in foster care.

Foster parent(s) and the child’s social worker should start discussions, as the child approaches their third birthday or when a foster parent decides to take up additional work.

If Salford City Council is looking after the child (responsible local authority) please complete the application form below and return to:

Starting Life Well Service
Childrens Services
Swinton Gateway
100 Chorley Road
M27 6BP

Telephone: 0161 778 0384

You and your partner if you have one will need your:

  • National Insurance numbers
  • Any evidence requested by the local authority’s designated officer e.g. the child’s social worker, to confirm that you are engaging in paid work outside your role as foster parent such as; pay slips, evidence of self-employment (tax return); a job offer letter.

What happens next?

Once the application form has been completed by the foster parent/s and verified by the local authority’s designated person (in Salford this is the foster carer’s social worker), the completed form will be returned to the Starting Life Well service they will;

  • Process the application
  • Generate the 11 digit code
  • Send the code via email to the foster parent/s within four weeks (from the date of application) or
  • Advise the foster parent(s) and local authority designated officer if they application has been unable to be processed and
  • Inform the child’s social worker that a code has been issued

Once the foster parent has received the code, the process is the same as for any other 30 hours parent and child;

  • The foster parent contacts a provider (this can be with any registered funded childcare provider in Salford or another local authority) and agree a 30 hour place
  • Give them the code to confirm their place

Please see Foster Parents Journey document below.

Foster parents should ensure they are familiar with the policy for reconfirmations at the start of the application process to ensure reconfirmations are undertaken at the appropriate time. Failure to reconfirm could mean that a foster child is no longer eligible for 30 hours childcare. 

Will I have to pay for additional charges if I am using 30 hours?

Just like at school, your childcare provider can charge for additional services, for example, lunch, trips or music classes. These charges cannot be a condition of accessing your 30 hours place and alternative arrangements should be made available. Any charges should be itemised and cannot be a supplementary 'top up'. You should speak to your childcare provider for further information about any additional charges.

Is 30 hours only available in term time or all year round?

Like the existing 15 hours, eligible parents are entitled to a maximum of 30 hours a week in each of the 38 weeks of the academic year. However you can stretch this offer over the year, for instance, you can take 22 hours a week for 52 weeks, or just under 24 hours for 48 weeks. You should speak to your provider about how they are offering 30 hours. 

When can my child access a 30 hours place?

You can claim 30 hours from the term after:

  • your foster child turns three years old and
  • The date you receive your eligibility code from the local authority, whichever date is later.

We recommend that you apply in good time, so that you receive your code the term before your child becomes eligible. You can apply up to 16 weeks before your foster child turns three years old.


Foster parents, like all other parents accessing 30 hours, are required to reconfirm their eligibility every three months (or sooner dependent on end date of code issued).

Salford City Council should be satisfied that the placement is on-going, that accessing the 30 hours is still consistent with the child’s care plan and the foster parents are still engaging in paid work outside their role as a foster parent.

Foster parents should complete the 30 hours reconfirmation statement and submit the form to the foster child’s social worker at least 4 weeks prior to the 30 hour code eligibility end date, to allow the council to process the reconfirmation in time. Late forms will be invalid.

We'd love to hear from you!

Call 0161 799 1268, send us an email at or complete our online enquiry form below.

Fostering enquiry form

This page was last updated on 3 October 2023

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