Updates from the council on coronavirus

Check the latest advice on COVID-19 →

30 hours for foster carers

3 and 4 year old children in foster care will be eligible for 30 hours of childcare if their foster carers meet the eligibility criteria and it is consistent with the child’s care plan. You must speak to your supervising social worker to see if you meet the criteria before completing an application form.

Eligibility Criteria

Children in foster care will be able to receive 30 Hours Funded Childcare the term after the child turns 3 if the following criteria are met:

  • Accessing the extended hours is consistent with the child’s care plan, placing the child at the centre of the process and decision making,
  • The foster carers must live in England

In single parent foster families:

  • The foster carer must engage in paid work outside their role as a foster carer (no set minimum hours)
  • The foster carer does not earn more than £100,000 a year

In two-parent foster families:

  • Both partners engage in paid work outside their role as a foster carer (no set minimum hours)
  • The foster carers do not earn more than £100,000 a year each
  • If one partner is working outside fostering and the other partner is in receipt of the following qualifying benefits:
    • Universal Credit - assessed as having limited capability for work
    • National Insurance credits because of incapacity or limited capability for work
    • Carer’s Allowance
    • Employment and Support Allowance
    • Incapacity Benefit
    • Severe Disablement Allowance

In families where only one person is the approved foster carer:

  • The approved foster carer must engage in paid work outside their role as a foster carer
  • The partner (of the foster carer) is in qualifying paid work and earning a minimum of the equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum/national living wage and does not earn more than £100,000 a year OR
  • The partner (of the foster carer) is in receipt of the following qualifying benefits:
    • Universal Credit - assessed as having limited capability for work
    • National Insurance credits because of incapacity or limited capability for work
    • Carer’s Allowance
    • Employment and Support Allowance
    • Incapacity Benefit
    • Severe Disablement Allowance

How to apply

The application must be made to Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council who is the Corporate Parent of the child; if the corporate parent is another Local Authority you must contact them for an application form.

The child is eligible for 3 and 4 year old funding the term after their 3rd birthday. 3 and 4 years olds can start in a 30 hours place from the September, January or April.

Application process:

  • Contact the Quality Early Years and Childcare Team on 0121 569 4960 to obtain an application form
  • Once you and your partner (if applicable) have completed and signed this form, you must supply evidence of paid employment outside of your fostering responsibilities; this can be in the form of copies of pay slips or employment contracts.
  • The completed form and your employment evidence must be sent to the Quality Early Years and Childcare Team to be checked and authorised.
  • Once your application is processed you will be notified of the outcome. You will receive an email/letter from the team, containing your unique 11 digits 30-hour code beginning with ‘400’.  You must take this code to your chosen Early Years and Childcare Provider, who will validate the code and confirm your 30-hour place for the child.
  • Your code can be used at any Early Years and Childcare provider that is registered to offer Early Education Funding in any English Local Authority, although there is an expectation that this will be at a provider who had a Good, Outstanding or Requires Improvement Ofsted rating. To search for registered childcare providers visit: https://fis.sandwell.gov.uk
  • Your code will need to be renewed by Sandwell Quality Early Years and Childcare Team every 3 months, and you will need to contact us to renew this and confirm that your circumstances have not changed and that you still meet the criteria.

If you are applying for your own children use the childcare service: www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs.

For further information contact the Quality Early Years and Childcare Team on 0121 569 4960 or via email: familyinformation@sandwell.gov.uk