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Registered or approved childcare for Universal Credit

Registered or approved childcare for Universal Credit

What registered or approved childcare means in each part of Great Britain

The Childcare Costs element is to support working parents. For Universal Credit, you must use a registered or approved childcare provider who has a registration number, such as:

  • nurseries
  • playschemes
  • childminders
  • school-based care

This does not include informal childcare such as a friend or family member looking after your child.

There are different rules depending on where you live.

Childcare in England

Your childcare provider must be registered with the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted).

If you use childcare provided by a school it must be:

  • provided by or under the direction of the person responsible for managing the school, or a local authority
  • on school premises that may be inspected as part of a school inspection
  • out of school hours

Childcare in Wales

Your childcare provider must be one of the following:

  • registered with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales
  • provided by a school on the school premises, or by a local authority
  • a domiciliary care worker, also called a home carer, providing childcare in the child's home and registered under the Domiciliary Care Agencies (Wales) Regulations 2004
  • someone approved by the Childcare at Home Approval Scheme providing childcare in your child's home - or if several children are being looked after, in one of the children's homes

Childcare in Scotland

Your childcare provider must be one of the following:

  • registered with Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS), also called the Care Inspectorate
  • a childcare club that is registered with SCSWIS to provide childcare
  • someone registered with SCSWIS to provide childcare in your child's home

If you are a Crown servant working abroad accompanied by your children

If you're a Crown servant, for example a civil servant or a member of the armed forces posted overseas, you may get the Childcare Costs element for your childcare costs. Your childcare provider must be approved by a Ministry of Defence accreditation scheme abroad.

If your child is looked after by you, your partner or a relative

You can't get the Childcare Costs element for childcare provided by you and/or your partner. You can only get the Childcare Costs element for childcare provided by a relative who is either:

  • a registered childminder who cares for your child outside of your child's own home
  • a childcare provider approved under a Home Child Care Providers Scheme in Wales who cares for your child outside your child's own home - but they must also care for at least one other child who's not related to them
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