THERE are a number of childcare options you can explore including day nursery, child-minders, nannies or au pairs. Lack of facilities in some remote locations (especially overseas), being far away from our families and having your soldier away on deployment can make childcare choices more difficult for Army families. You’ll need to work out which option will best suit your working hours, budget and family needs.

Help with the cost
All three- and four-year-olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of free early education each week for 38 weeks of the year. As from September, some two-year-olds are eligible.

Childcare vouchers
Can save you more than £1,000 a year. If your employer runs a voucher scheme, you can register to get help with your childcare costs. Vouchers are usable by any accepting childcare organisation (including nannies) as long as they are registered and regulated. Visit for more information.

SureStart Maternity Grant
A one-off payment of £500 per baby, which you are entitled to provided you are getting a “qualifying benefit” and do not have any other children under 16. Go to to see if you are eligible.

Tax Credits
There are two types of tax credits: Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. The former are payments to people with children with household incomes less than £41,300 to help with childcare costs. If you go back to work after having children you could also get a Working Tax Credit, including an extra payment to help with childcare costs. See for details.

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