PARENTS of toddlers in York are being urged to check out whether they’re eligible for free childcare.

From September 1 more than 600 two-year-olds in York – double last year’s figure - are eligible for up to 15 hours of free childcare a week at a playgroup, day nursery or with a childminder as part of a national initiative.

Parents, who earn no more than £16,190 a year and receive Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit or Income Support, could be eligible for a free childcare place. Two-year-olds, who are looked after by the council or have a Child Protection Plan, automatically qualify for a place.

From September 1 children with special educational needs, those who have been adopted or with a residency/special guardianship order will also qualify for a place.

Cllr Janet Looker, cabinet member for education, said: “Children love being with other kids their age and the free childcare is a great opportunity for them to get involved in lots of different activities. It can also help make it easier to free up time for mums and dads who want to do some training or do part-time work. We’d love to hear from anyone who thinks they might be eligible.”

The free places are available to children who are two years of age and whose parents fulfil the criteria. The places can be taken up the term after the child’s second birthday.

Parents can apply on line at or to find out more call the Family Information Service on 01904 554444 or text ‘’free place’ to 07624 802244.