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Foster children will receive 30 funded hours

Minister Robert Goodwill has agreed to include foster children in the 30 hours scheme.

During a Westminster debate called by MP Lisa Nandy (Lab, Wigan) he said that his officials were now looking at this and more details will be available shortly.

He said: “Since it was brought to my attention, I have been looking carefully at the issue of the current exclusion from the 30 hours policy for children in foster care. I have instructed my officials to work up plans to allow children in foster care to take up the additional hours where it is right for the child to do so.

“We will work with local authorities, fostering service providers and others in the sector to ensure we implement this change in a way that promotes the best interest of the child and I will set out more detail on how we will deliver this shortly.”

But NDNA is concerned that the existing scheme is underfunded and any extension could further stretch resources.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA said: “We welcome the decision made by the government to extend 30 hours funded childcare to all foster children to give them the best start in life. However, we remain highly concerned that the government has not responded to our concerns about underfunding of the 30 hour offer.

“As MP Lisa Nandy said during the Parliamentary debate yesterday, NDNA has grave concerns about underfunding, which is putting the viability of some nursery settings at risk. Extending the scheme, however welcome, needs to be thoroughly costed with meaningful investment put in to at least cover providers’ costs. The government cannot just rely on the goodwill of nurseries and parents to pay for the shortfall in funding.

“Robert Halfon MP, chairman of the Education Select Committee, suggested earlier this month that the earnings threshold for 30 hours could be reduced to allow more money to be made available. The government needs to set out its plans to ensure the offer is sustainable, otherwise this issue won’t go away.”

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