Your 2 year old child may be eligible for 15 hours of free childcare, depending on income and the receipt of certain benefits.

We have introduced a Golden Ticket letter approach to 2 year old funding. This means you do not need to apply online.  The Golden Ticket letter will be sent to your home address so please wait for the Golden Ticket letter to arrive. Please keep the Golden Ticket letter in a safe place until you need to use it. The Golden Ticket letter will arrive in an envelope so please look out for it.

If you have an open claim to one of the benefits in the “Benefits, tax credits and income” section below, you will receive a Golden Ticket letter and you do not need to apply. If you meet the criteria and your child turns 2 between 1 April 2021 and 31 August  2021, you will receive a Golden Ticket letter before the end of August 2021. Your child will be able to start in a childcare setting from the September 2021 term (i.e. after the Summer school holiday).

If your child is about to turn three, you can find advice here about funded childcare for three and four year olds.

Eligibility Criteria for two year old funding

A parent in receipt of one or more of the following benefits will receive a Golden Ticket letter through the post and you do not need to apply online:-

  • Your child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
  • income support;
  • child tax credit and have a joint annual income not over £16,190;
  • working tax credits and have a joint annual income of no more than £16,190;
  • the working tax credit four-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for working tax credit)
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA);
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA);
  • universal credit - from 1 April 2018, if you are entitled to universal credit you must have an annual net earned income equivalent to and not exceeding £15,400, assessed on up to three of your most recent universal credit assessment periods; or
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit.

If you are accessing two year old funding, this may affect other benefits you are claiming. Please check with HMRC. 

If you think you meet any of the above criteria, please contact the Families Information Service on 01609 533483.

Please contact the Families Information Service (FIS) on 01609 533483 if:-

  • your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). If your 2 year old child receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA) you will be eligible for 2 year old funding and should receive a Golden Ticket letter. or
  • if your two-year-old child has an education, health and care plan prepared under section 37 of the Children and Families Act 2014.

You might also be interested in our SEND early years pages.

Children looked after by a local authority (under section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989, see explanation below), such as with foster carers, are also entitled to a funded two-year-old place.

Children are also eligible if they are no longer looked after by a local authority as a result of an adoption order, a special guardianship order or a child arrangement order (within the meaning of section 8(1) of the Children Act 1989) which relates to either or both of the following:

  • with whom the child is to live; or
  • when the child is to live with any person.

Looked after children are children who are provided with accommodation by a local authority for more than 24 hours on a voluntary basis or who are under a care order. The child may be living with foster carers, in a residential home or with parents or other relatives.

Please contact Families Information Service on 01609 533483 or to apply for two-year-old funding.

Even if you have been confirmed as eligible for two-year-old funding by another local authority, you must still apply for funding with North Yorkshire if you would like to send your child to a North Yorkshire childcare provider.

If you are resident outside of North Yorkshire, i.e. you pay your council tax to a different authority but you want your child to attend a North Yorkshire provider, please contact the families information service on 01609 533483 or email

If you are a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits, your two-year-old may get free childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:

  • claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’)
  • been refused asylum in the UK (known as ‘section 4’)

A two-year-old you care for may also get free childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have either:

  • leave to remain with ‘no recourse to public funds’ on family or private life grounds.
  • support from your local council because you have ‘a child in need’, for example they have a disability or a child protection plan
  • the right to live in the UK because you’re the main carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’)

Please contact the Families Information Service on 01609 533483 if you think you may be eligible to two year old funding due to the above criteria.

Online Application process

If you have not received a Golden Ticket letter two months after your child’s 2nd birthday, please contact Families Information Service on 01609 533483 or email

​Apply for two-year-old funding

You will receive an email response to your application. Please check all folders including your spam and junk folder.

If you have any queries, please contact the families information service on 01609 533483 or email

If your child is eligible, you can take up their place from the beginning of the term after their second birthday. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.

Child's birthday When you can claim We must receive applications by
1 January to 31 March the beginning of term on or after 1 April Last week in April
1 April to 31 August the beginning of term on or after 1 September Second week in September
1 September to 31 December the beginning of term on or after 1 January First week in January

To offer the government funded two-year-old places, providers must have been judged 'good' or 'outstanding' at their most recent Ofsted inspection.

You can see advice about choosing childcare here.

  • To guarantee your child’s place, your early years provider must see your Golden Ticket letter or your online confirmation email.
  • The early years funding is paid directly to the early years provider. You should be asked to sign a parental agreement with your childcare provider.
  • All childcare providers should have an Admissions Policy in place which clearly states how they offer early education and childcare places. You may wish to ask for a copy of this.
  • Childcare providers may make additional charges for extra hours and consumables such as food or nappies, which must be agreed before a place is taken.