There’s lots to think about when choosing childcare. It is important to allow as much time as possible to research the best options to meet your family's needs. Some childcare providers have waiting lists, so make contact with those you are interested in as early as possible.
Decide what is important for you
Think about your priorities for childcare. This could be:
- a childcare environment that suits your child
- a childcare setting which is close to home
- a childcare setting which is close to work
- childcare in a location that makes it simple for others to drop off/pick up
- childcare which is affordable
- a setting which is open all year round
- a childcare provider who offers evening/weekend/overnight care
- a childcare provider who will offer ‘free childcare’ when your child is eligible
The types of childcare page gives you information on the different childcare options available in Cambridgeshire.
The Family Information Directory allows you to search for local childcare providers and other family services. You can search using a postcode and can filter results by type of childcare, child’s age, opening times, and whether they offer free childcare for two, or three and four year olds.
We have a family and childcare information helpline to support all parents and carers to find suitable childcare, including those who have children with special educational needs or disabilities. We will talk to you to find out about your needs, understand the support required and the type of childcare you are looking for. You can call us on 0345 045 1360.
If you have a child aged between 0 and 5 you can also visit a Cambridgeshire Children’s Centre for help with finding childcare. Other local parents are likely to have a good idea of what is available in an area, but make sure you make your own enquiries into the quality and suitability of a setting. For providers registered with Ofsted, their inspection report will provide useful information on their quality. The Family Information Directory provides links to Ofsted report for registered providers.
Childcare provision for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities
All childcare settings are able to support a child with special educational needs and/or disabilities, although some may have particular skills or expertise. It is important to give potential settings as much information as possible about your child from the start. This will help them to meet his / her needs more effectively, which may help them to settle better.
If you need help with finding a childcare place for your child, contact the Family and Childcare Information helpline on 0345 045 1360. If you need additional help with finding a place, you may be put in touch with the specialist childcare adviser.
If you are looking for childcare outside Cambridgeshire, find the Family Information Service in the area you need.
Under the Child Care Act 2006, Cambridgeshire County Council has a duty to:
- ensure sufficient and suitable childcare places are provided, including for children with special educational needs and/or disability, to enable parents to work or to undertake education or training which could lead to employment
- secure free early years education provision for all 3 and 4 year olds, and 2 year olds who meet nationally set eligibility criteria, for 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year.