“More than 3,000 foster children will be excluded from the Tories flagship free childcare pledge, ministers have revealed.
Under the policy, three and four year olds with working parents are entitled to 30 hours of childcare paid for by the government.
But early years minister Robert Goodwill has revealed foster children is only available for the 15 hours a week available whether parents are in work or not.
Some 3,030 children in care will lose out on care, even if their foster carers are in full time work.
It means a vulnerable child receiving 30 hours a week would lose up to half of their childcare funding if they were to be taken into care.
Labour’s early years spokesperson Tracy Brain said: “The decision to exclude foster children is cruel and clearly discriminatory.
“Every child should have access to high quality childcare and early years education, and while not every foster parent would decide 30-hours is best for the child, they should have exactly the same right to access as if they were with their birth parents.
“We’re looking at a few thousand children added to a policy already used by hundreds of thousands, in the interest of equality and our commitment to foster children, the Tories should think again and end this unfair exclusion.”
If foster children were included in the policy, they would make up just 1% of the roughly 300,000 expected to be eligible for the full 30 hours from January.
While foster carers do receive an allowance from the government, childcare costs are not included in the calculations.
She added: “We’re looking at a few thousand children added to a policy already used by hundreds of thousands, in the interest of equality and our commitment to foster children, the Tories should think again and end this unfair exclusion.” …”