Keeping your head above water when childcare costs hit

Are you struggling to pay childcare costs?

Perhaps you’re returning to work after a career break? Are you in the middle of a difficult separation or divorce? Or working out if and how you can support your family on your own following a bereavement?

Whatever your situation, worrying about what will happen to your childcare arrangements – and how you’ll pay for childcare fees – during an already stressful time can feel like one worry too far. 

A helping hand to look after you and your family 

As you start to work out what your future holds, whether you’re figuring out how to cope on your own, working out who pays for childcare costs in a separation or navigating the workplace again after a career break, we are on your side. 

Accessing our financial grants is simple and confidential. We offer a range of financial and practical support that’s designed to help you and your family to weather the storm, whatever you’re going through. 

A safety net against the rising costs of childcare 

Childcare is expensive, isn’t it? And yet we know that for many working parents, the cost of childcare is an unavoidable expense. And, for newly single parents, existing or additional childcare can be the only way to manage the new challenges presented by juggling the demands of the working week, the school holidays and after-school care alone.

However, as wage increases stagnate, and childcare costs continue to increase, the pressure on working parents to find the money needed for rising childcare fees can mount. 

‘79% of families in England with children aged 0 to 14 used some form of childcare, based on government estimates for a given term time week in 2014/15. 66% used formal childcare, and 40% used informal childcare. 28% used both.’ 

Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact-checking charity

In addition to this, for many parents, the return to work following a change in circumstances may demand the need for additional childcare. And finding the money required to cover the typical 13 weeks of school holidays, as well as breakfast clubs and after-school care, can present a worrying challenge when cash is already tight.

So, does help with childcare costs exist? And if it does, how do you know if you’re entitled to it? 

Am I entitled to help with childcare costs? 

The government’s Childcare Choices website offers a helpful guide to childcare costs for parents. 

The guide is a helpful tool for navigating the government support that’s available, depending on the age of your children. However, a report published by the Trades Union Congress can make for frustrating reading as it reveals ‘childcare costs have rocketed by 52% per week since 2008 for families with a full-time and a part-time working parent. Over the same period their wages have gone up by just 17%.’ TUC, 2018 

And this is childcare with government support. 

According to Aviva, ‘The hidden cost of divorce and separation continues to spiral with UK couples spending an average of £14,561 on legal and lifestyle costs when they break up, an increase of 17% since 2014.’ Aviva, Family Finances Report, 2018 

A separation can also mean navigating hidden costs such as paying for additional family accommodation, child maintenance payments, and legal fees – adding to the financial and emotional stress of working out who pays for childcare in a divorce.

Then there’s the TUC, which reports that any newly single parent who wants to return to work is disproportionately affected by the costs of childcare, compared with families with a full-time and a part-time working parent. 

‘Childcare costs for a single mum or dad working full time have risen seven times faster than earnings.’ TUC, 2018

No wonder it feels like a struggle. 

Thankfully, help is available.

We can help with childcare costs for single parents too  

Our financial grants are offered in addition to any government assistance you might be getting and support single parents who want or need to return to work – as well as families who are struggling to make ends meet due to high childcare fees.

For separating couples wondering, ‘How do you get help with childcare costs?’ we can also provide agrant for mediation for both parties, money towards a rent deposit, and a one-off grant to assist with interim living costs. 

Practical, sensible, sleep-at-night support 

In addition to our financial grants, IET Connect also offers support for working parents via our legal helpline, and we can provide benefits advice for questions around Child Benefit, the new Universal Credit and Job Seeker’s Allowance, housing support, and as well as general financial support. 

If for whatever reason, your family circumstances mean that you’re facing redundancy or unemployment, IET Connect also has a career advice service providing one-to-one career coaching. It can support parents returning to the workplace, as well as anyone facing redundancy. Contact us to find more information about our support services.   

A listening ear, a safe space to talk 

We know that parents who experience the loss of a partner, whether through bereavement or the end of a significant relationship like a divorce, can struggle with their mental health. And that this struggle can also extend to other members of the family.

We also know that returning to the workplace after a break can be an additional source of worry and stress.

If you’re experiencing difficulties, there’s a range of options that provide support for you and your family in the form of counselling grants, mediation grants and mental health services.

Don’t let worrying about childcare get in your way 

We’re here to help you to return to work, with advice to meet your legal, housing, financial and emotional needs. If you find you’re struggling to afford the cost of paying for childcare and wondering ‘Am I entitled to help with childcare costs?” – or you’re worried about how to return to work, get in touch to find out more about the help we offer.


T: +44 (0)20 7344 5498
Monday to Friday
09.00-17.00 UK time

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