Disability access fund (DAF)

​From April 2017, the government has introduced a new funding stream for early years providers called the disability access fund (DAF) which is designed to support children with disabilities or special educational needs (SEN).

The DAF aids access to early years places by, for example, supporting childcare providers in making reasonable adjustments to their settings (be that for the child in question or for the benefit of all children who attend the setting).

Childcare providers who have free entitlement children who are eligible for the DAF will be entitled to receive a single, one off payment of £615 per year.

Children do not have to take up the full 570 hours of free entitlement they are entitled to in order to receive the DAF.

Who is eligible for disability access fund?

3 and 4 year olds will be eligible for the DAF if they meet the below criteria:

  • The child is in receipt of child Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and;
  • The child attends an early years childcare provider for the universal free entitlement.

Any 4 year old children in reception are NOT eligible for DAF funding.

How do I identify eligible children?

Childcare providers are responsible for identifying children who are eligible for the DAF. Parents/carers of children qualifying for Disability Living Allowance are required to provide documented evidence of this allowance.

How do I claim the DAF funding?

In order for childcare providers to make a claim for DAF funding, evidence of the child’s Disability Allowance will need to be sent into the Early Years Funding Team at earlyyears@childrenfirstnorthamptonshire.co.uk.

How will I receive DAF funding for my setting?

  • NCC will fund all OFSTED registered childcare providers providing a place for each child eligible for the DAF in their area at the fixed annual rate of £615 per eligible child.
  • The DAF will not be offset against any other funding, i.e. High Needs Funding.
  • The DAF is payable as a lump sum once a year per eligible child. If a child eligible for the DAF is splitting their Free Entitlement across two childcare providers, the parent/carer will need to nominate the main childcare provider who will receive the DAF funding.
  • If a child receiving the DAF moves from one childcare provider to another within a financial year, the new childcare provider is not eligible to receive the DAF funding for this child within the same financial year. DAF funding received by the original setting will not be recouped.
  • Where a child lives in one authority area but attends a childcare provider in a different local authority, the childcare provider’s local authority is responsible for funding the DAF for the child and eligibility checking.
  • All childcare providers who are eligible to receive funding for the Free Entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds are eligible to receive the DAF for any eligible children.