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Childcare for Parents with Children

Use this childcare support overview to get help with child care in the United Kingdom. Extra information covers child education and assistance for those with school-age children. Other topics cover the rules on adoption and fostering. You will also find guidance and help with sensitive issues such as divorce, separation, and leaving children alone.

CHILD CARE SUPPORT: Experiencing motherhood and raising a child can result in a search for financial support.

You will find guidance and advice about the topics which matter the most to all parents.

The list helps you find childcare in your area and how to seek financial support for child care.

Check to see if you qualify for help paying for someone to look after your child.

You may be eligible for the Care to Learn benefit or the Childcare Grant. Learn how to use the Tax Credits calculator to work out your Tax credits and child care costs.

Childcare Support Guide A to Z

Adoption and Fostering

The guidelines explain the rules of adoption in the United Kingdom. Find out who can adopt children and how the legal process works for fostering and surrogacy.

Child Learning and Safety

Helping parents establish basic house rules for small kids and toddlers. The list of rules for children help improve family life and well-being for youngsters.

Divorce and Separation

What happens about childcare when parents get divorced or separate? Check out how the legal issues of separation affect child maintenance and child custody.

Finding Childcare

Domestic Helpers

Check to see if you would get considered an as employer of your nanny, childcare worker, or au pair. The section explains the rules for employing someone to work in your home.

Early Education

Check to see if the local council offer free early education and childcare in your area. Limited services are available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Nursery School Places

Do you have children under 5 years old and live in England or Wales? If so, you can apply for a place in a nursery school organised through your local council.

Ofsted Inspection Reports

Use the online facility to find an Ofsted inspection report. The report allows a search by name, address, or URN for childminders and other childcare providers.

Registered Childminders

The council can help you find a registered childminder in your area. The FIS also provides details on family support and early years education for under 5s.

Sure Start Centres for Children

You can contact the council or use the FID to find a Sure Start Children’s Centre near to your home and compare the services they offer. The free service is open to all parents, carers and children.

Financial Support

Check out what financial assistance for parents with children is available. The section has information for those who are pregnant or already have a child.

Leaving a Child Alone

UK law does not ‘clearly’ state at what age it becomes legal to leave a child on their own. It becomes an offence if you leave a child alone where it places them at risk of harm. It is often a tricky decision to make.

Parents and childminders should use good judgement on the maturity level of all children before leaving them without parental supervision (e.g. in a car or at home). The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children recommend that:

  • You should never leave babies, toddlers, and very young children alone.
  • Children under 12 are rarely mature enough to get left alone for a long period of time.
  • Children under 16 should not be left alone overnight.

NSPCC GUIDE: Leaving a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’ may result in prosecution proceedings being taken against the parent.

Pregnancy and Birth

A section listing financial support and benefits for pregnant mothers. Check what pregnancy and birth entitlements families can claim during a pregnancy.

Schools and Education

Helpful advice about sending your children to school and dealing with school processes. Check to see if you or your school-age kids qualify for extra financial childcare support.

Childcare Support for Parents with School-age Children in United Kingdom