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Free childcare for two year-olds now include families with NRPF condition
Following successful litigation, the Government has agreed to amend the existing regulations on early years provision for two year-olds to include families with no recourse to public funds. The current provision enables families in receipt of low-income benefits to access 15 hours of free childcare for two year-olds. This provision has often excluded some of the most disadvantaged families due to the no recourse to public funds (NRPF) condition that is attached to parents' leave to remain in the UK.
In light of the litigation, the Department for Education will amend the regulations on early years provision for two year-olds to make it accessible for the following families:
1. Those with an EU derivative right in the UK as a carer of a British child or a dependent adult i.e. a Zambrano carer in the UK
2. Those with an EU derivative right that is currently unrecognised - namely, someone that would otherwise meets the conditions for leave to remain as a Zambrano carer but does not currently have leave to remain, or is awaiting a decision on an application for leave to remain
3. Those with leave to remain on Article 8 family and private life grounds either within the rules (Appendix FM or 276E(2)) or outside the rules
4. Those who have claimed asylum but are 'appeal rights exhausted' (ARE) and in receipt of Section 4 support from the Home Office
This does unfortunately leave out non-British children of parents who do not currently have existing leave to remain and are do not qualify for a Zambrano right.
Where families satisfy the above conditions, they will still need to demonstrate that they have low income. According to guidance that the DfE and LGA have issued for local authorities, parents 'must meet the income threshold (£15,400) to be eligible for a free place for their two-year-old.'
The DfE has also agreed to consult on the changes with relevant sector partners. They have not yet outlined a timeline for this, but the legal team at Matthew Gold and Co. can provide further information when this is made available. It would be ideal if colleagues that work with NRPF families can contribute to this consultation.
Read the guidance that the DfE and LGA have prepared for local authorities on the changes.
If you have questions about the litigation, you can contact the legal team at Matthew Gold and Co:
Clare Jennings Clare@matthewgold.co.uk
Rachel Etheridge Rachel@matthewgold.co.uk