Children and families

Free childcare for two-year-olds

Two-year-olds with additional needs, or those from the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families, can get 15 hours free childcare per week.

Who qualifies for a free place?

Your two-year-old will get 15 hours free early education each week, for 38 weeks, if you receive:

  • Income Support, income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit based on an annual combined income of £15,400, after tax
  • tax credits with earnings of no more than £16,190 per year, before tax
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • support through Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • Working Tax Credit four week-run on

A two-year-old may also qualify for a free place if he or she:

  • gets a Disability Living Allowance
  • is looked after by the local authority
  • has left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order
  • gets support from the Home Office under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • has leave to remain in the UK with no recourse to public funds on family or private life grounds
  • can live in the UK because their main carer is a British citizen or Zambrano Carer

The free funding is not intended to cover the cost of meals, nappies or additional activities, such as trips. Providers may charge a fee for these additions.

If you do not meet the criteria above and are in work you may qualify for the expanded childcare offer for working parents.

When can I apply?

Children become eligible from the term after their second birthday:

  • Children born between 1st January and 31st March become eligible from 1st April
  • Children born between 1st April and 31st August become eligible from 1st September
  • Children born between 1st September and 31st December become eligible from 1st January

How to apply

You can check if you are eligible and apply for a funded place online via our Citizen Portal below.

You can also speak to your childcare provider and do an assisted application with them or pop in to your local children's centre.

Check eligibility and apply - Sign in or register for an account

Read our privacy notice which tells you how we use your data.

You will already have a Citizen Portal account if you have previously applied for a Reception or Year 7 place in Liverpool, or a school travel pass. If you don't have an account you can register for one. See our step-by-step guide to register for a Citizen Portal account.

What happens next?

If you are eligible, you will receive a Two Year Funding (TYF) code. You should give this to your chosen childcare provider.

As well as the TYF code, the provider will need to see evidence of your child’s date of birth and address before a place can be offered. They may also want to see other evidence such as:

  • an Income Support letter
  • a Tax Credit Award Notice
  • an Asylum Seekers NASS card

How do I find a nursery place or other education setting?

To find a local approved nursery, playgroup, childminder or school that offers free places, you can:

All providers must:

  • be registered with Ofsted
  • be inspected against the Early Years Foundation Stage Regulatory Framework
  • have signed Liverpool’s Early Years Funding Agreement

Further information

The GOV.UK website has a calculator to find out how much you could get towards approved childcare.

Check if you can get help with childcare costs