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Childcare for vulnerable children and children of critical workers

Help save lives by keeping your child at home if you can

Childcare settings are now only open to the most vulnerable children and those whose parents' work is critical to the coronavirus response.

Only send your child to your childcare setting if you have to because your work is critical to the coronavirus response. If you can keep your child safe at home, do so.

If you can't care for your children at home

In response to the coronavirus outbreak registered childcare providers have been asked where possible to continue to provide care for a limited number of children. This includes children:

  • who are vulnerable
  • whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home 

Vulnerable children include those who:

  • are supported by social care
  • have safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans or on child protection plans
  • are looked after
  • are young carers
  • are disabled
  • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan

Critical workers (also called key workers)

If your work is critical to the coronavirus response, or you work in one of the critical sectors and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for childcare provision.

The government has produced guidance and a list of parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response.

The government has published guidance on closures of schools, childcare and other educational settings for parents and carers.

If your child doesn't fit into either group

If your child is not classed as vulnerable and you're not a critical worker then the government's advice is for them to be cared for at home and follow social distancing guidance, or self-isolating if anyone in your household has symptoms.

Read the social distancing guidance from the government.

Read the stay at home guidance from the government.

Your childcare provider or school may provide you with activities or ideas to continue your child's learning and there's lots of online support. 

Childcare availability for vulnerable children and children of critical workers

Not all childcare providers are able to stay open, for example if they don’t have enough staff or childminders who are in an at risk group.

Eligibility for all the different childcare funding schemes have not changed. 

Where to find childcare

If your child is in the vulnerable group or you’re a critical worker, it’s still safest to keep your child at home if you can. We appreciate this is an incredibly difficult time, but this is to protect your family and others in our communities.

If you can’t work from home or make other arrangements, then some childcare providers are staying open.

Your current childcare provider may still be operating, or others in your area will be open.

Search for childcare during the coronavirus emergency

Search our Family Information Directory to find providers who have told us their coronavirus status is 'open'.

If your childcare provider is not listed they've probably informed you of their plans, but contact them if you're not sure.

Help if you you can't find childcare

Contact our Family Information Service Outreach Team if you're having difficulty finding childcare. Our advisors will go the extra mile to help you find the childcare that meets your family's needs.

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