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Government Opens Applications for Childcare for 9-Month-Olds, Promising Support for Working Families

London, May 12, 2024: The Department for Education, led by The Rt Hon Laura Trott MBE MP, alongside The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP and The Rt Hon Gillian Keegan MP, has announced the commencement of applications for government-funded childcare for parents of 9-month-olds, marking a significant stride in England’s childcare provision.

Effective from today, Sunday, May 12, eligible working parents of children expected to reach 9 months of age by August 31 can now apply for 15 hours of funded childcare per week. This initiative is anticipated to benefit hundreds of thousands of families across the nation, offering crucial support to parents balancing career commitments with childcare responsibilities.

This announcement marks the second phase of the government’s ambitious plan aimed at facilitating a better work-life balance for hard-working parents. Following the successful introduction of the program in April, which saw over 211,027 2-year-olds benefitting from government-funded places, the expansion now extends to parents of younger children.

Under the scheme, parents with children aged between 9 and 23 months by August 31, 2024, can obtain their government-funded childcare code through the childcare service platform. This code is then presented to their chosen childcare provider for validation.

The government’s long-term vision includes progressively enhancing support for childcare costs, with plans to extend funding to 30 hours per week by September 2025. It’s estimated that this expansion will save families an average of £6,900 annually, alleviating financial burdens associated with childcare.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed his commitment to fulfilling the government’s pledge of providing unprecedented childcare support, emphasizing that no parent should have to compromise between their career aspirations and childcare responsibilities. The Prime Minister highlighted the significant strides made thus far, with over 210,000 children already benefitting from the initial phase of the program.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan reiterated the government’s dedication to ensuring accessible and high-quality childcare for every eligible parent. She commended the successful execution of the program’s initial phase, noting that all local authorities have now met the demand for childcare places.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott emphasized the government’s substantial investment in childcare, affirming that no parent should be compelled to choose between caring for their children and pursuing a successful career.

The application process for childcare codes requires parents to reconfirm their eligibility every three months. To streamline the process and ensure maximum participation, eligible parents will receive necessary guidance and support from HMRC, enabling them to navigate the application system seamlessly.

Parents seeking further information or facing challenges in securing childcare placements are encouraged to liaise directly with their preferred childcare providers or contact their local authorities for assistance.

The government’s commitment to expanding childcare provisions underscores its dedication to fostering an environment where families can thrive while contributing to the nation’s economic prosperity.

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