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Help with childcare costs: special educational needs and disabilities

Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) should be part of their local community and be included and educated alongside their peers. You can find out about the range of support and opportunities in the Devon SEND Local Offer.

Providers are allowed to charge extra if they need to employ extra staff or limit their provision to fewer children, but are only allowed to charge for the extra costs incurred. All childcare providers must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to include children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Information about paying for childcare for all children is available at Childcare Choices.

Other help with paying for childcare for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities may be available through the options explained below.

Disability Access Funding (DAF)

Disability Access Funding (DAF) is funding for early years providers to support access for children with disabilities or special educational needs.

The funding should be used by providers to make reasonable adjustments to their setting that will enhance inclusive practice. To qualify for the funding, the three or four-year-old child must be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and accessing Early Years Entitlement Funding.

Disability Access Funding is not based on an hourly rate and is paid in addition to the Early Years Funding for three and four-year-olds. Three and four-year-old children who are in receipt of DLA will be eligible to claim Disability Access Funding when they take up any period of funded entitlement, they do not have to be taking up their full entitlement.

The funding is an annual payment of up to £828 (pro rata in spring or summer if a school starter in September).

If you think your child may be entitled to Disability Access Funding please speak to your childcare provider.

Direct payments for children with a disability

Direct payments for children with a disability is money given to families to pay for services and equipment themselves, instead of having them arranged by the Local Authority.

These payments may be provided by social care after an assessment process and can be very useful in allowing parents and carers to choose their own childcare package, including support and services that are not routinely provided by community care services.

Parents or carers could ask for this as part of a short break or as part of a package of care to help them juggle work and caring. To do this, they will need to ask the social worker to arrange for an assessment of their family’s needs.

For more information please see our direct payments information in the SEND Local Offer.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:

  • is under 16
  • has difficulties walking or needs more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability

For more information please see

If you are eligible for tax credits:

  • an extra disability element is added to a child tax credit calculation for each child who receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or is registered blind
  • a ‘severe disability’ element is added if your child receives the highest rate of the DLA care component

Tax credit helpline: 0345 300 3900.

Other help with childcare costs

  • Tax-Free Childcare (until the child is 17 years old)
  • Funded care and education for two-year-olds (from the term after their second birthday)
  • Funded care and education for all three and four-year-olds (from the term after their third birthday until they are under statutory school age and not in a reception age class)
  • Extended Entitlement (if they are not yet in a reception age class and are under statutory school age)
  • Care to Learn
  • NHS Bursaries
  • MOD Wraparound Childcare (WAC) Scheme
  • Universal Credit
  • Childcare element of Working Tax Credit
  • Further Education Discretionary Learner Support
  • Higher Education Grants
  • Employer Childcare Vouchers

Find out more on our Factsheet.