From today, a new eligibility checker for two-year-old free childcare and early education is available. The new checker will give an instant response whether eligible ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if the applicant is applying under ‘economic’ criteria, i.e. on benefits or in receipt of working tax credit and earning less than £16,190.

The same system will also allow for residents to apply under non-economic criteria - SEND, Adoption, Children in Need - and although it will not give an automatic response, it will enable parents or carers to upload supporting documentation which will then be sent on automatically for verification by the relevant Islington team. The new system is designed to make the eligibility process much quicker.

The link to the checker has not changed and is still accessed from the Islington website at www.islington.gov.uk/free2. This page will now direct users to the new system, the Citizen Portal, and requires the parent/carer to create a profile. The registration process is outlined step by step.

The eligibility ‘letter’ which parents receive from the Citizen Portal comes to them via an online notification within their Citizen Portal account, but must be accessed from within the portal.

You will need to ask parents to show you this online notification which quotes a unique reference number.

Please keep a record of this number.

Parents can print the online notification by right clicking and printing, but this is not essential as long as you get sight of their online confirmation. Please do not ask parents for their unique reference number without seeing evidence of their eligibility confirmation.

For a few months, while the new system becomes established, there will still be a paper form available online but where possible please encourage parents to apply online.

If you or parents or carers need any support with this new system please contact the Family Information Service on 020 7527 5959 or contact your local children’s centre.

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