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Disability Access Fund (DAF)

The Equality Act 2010 ensures that local authorities and settings must not discriminate, harass or victimise children with a disability, and must make reasonable adjustments. Local authorities must ensure that children with disabilities entitled to a place are found suitable provision.

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) aids access to early years places by, for example, supporting providers in making reasonable adjustments to their settings and/or helping with building capacity (be that for the child in question or for the benefit of children as a whole attending the setting).

Eligibility

Three and four year olds will be eligible for the DAF if they meet the following criteria:

  • the child is in receipt of child *Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and;
  • the child receives Free Entitlement for 3 and 4 year old funding.

*Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit to help support children under 16 with care and mobility needs.

Please note that four year olds in primary school reception classes are not eligible for DAF funding.

Identifying eligible children

Early years settings are ultimately responsible for identifying eligible children and settings are encouraged to speak to parents in order to find out who is eligible for the DAF.

The entitlement

The settings, where a three and four year old eligible for the DAF attends, will be entitled to receive a one-off payment of £615 per year. The DAF is not based on an hourly rate and is an additional entitlement.

What can providers use the DAF for?

The DAF grant is to help providers make reasonable adjustments to their settings to further support a child/children to make the most of the opportunity which early education offers them. The childcare provider will decide how to spend the DAF grant but providers cannot use the funding to pay for additional hours.

How can childcare providers apply for DAF for a child?

Parents will need to give consent that the provider is authorised to claim the Disability Access Fund (DAF) on their behalf. Parents will need to show evidence that they are eligible and in receipt of Disability Living Allowance and the provider will need to sign that they have seen evidence.

Providers using the Early Years Provider Portal will be able to record consent from parents on the Parental Agreement Form, in Section 4. This must be completed before any funding claims can be made for a child.

Schools will need to email early.years@achievingforchildren.org.uk

Frequently Asked Questions

What if a child is splitting their free entitlement across more than one setting? 

If a child is splitting their entitlement across more than one setting, parents will be asked to nominate the main setting, usually where the child accesses the majority of hours. This setting will be paid the DAF.

What if a child moves from one setting to another in the financial year?

The DAF is not transferable. If a child moves from one setting to another within the financial year, the new setting is not eligible to receive DAF funding for this child within the same financial year

Does the child have to take up the full 570 hours of free entitlement?

No. Children do not have to take up the full 570 hours of free entitlement in order for the setting to receive the DAF. Where children are eligible the setting will receive the payment regardless of the period of entitlement taken up by the parent.

What happens if a child attends a setting in a different local authority?

If a child lives in one local authority area but attends a setting in a different area, the setting’s LA is responsible for funding the DAF for the child and eligibility checking.

Additional information and guidance

Apply for DLA (opens a new window)

Early years entitlements: local authority funding of providers (opens a new window)