Disability Access Fund (DAF)

The disability access fund (DAF) 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 to enhance access and inclusion for all children.

Childcare providers who have children in receipt of 3-and-4-year funding who are eligible for the DAF will be entitled to receive a single, one-off payment of £881 per year from September 2023.

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 to 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 (DLA) are required to provide documented evidence of this allowance.

How to claim the DAF funding

Providers will need to claim for the DAF when completing the relevant headcount or adjustment task and attach the evidence to the child’s record. Please refer to the guidance on completing the 3 and 4 year old funding headcount task, which will instruct you on how to apply for DAF and attach the evidence required.

How you will receive DAF funding for your setting

  • Leicestershire County Council 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 £881 per eligible child.
  • The DAF is payable as a lump sum once a year per eligible child.  If a child eligible for DAF is splitting their free entitlement across two or more 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, the new childcare provider is not eligible to receive the DAF funding for this child within a 12 month period. 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
  • You will be able to view if DAF is going to be paid for a child, by accessing the ‘Summary’ tab on the Provider Portal and looking at the correct period.
  • Depending on when you apply for funding, your payment will either be paid on the headcount actual payment or adjustment payment date. The DAF payment will appear on your ‘Summary tab' which can be accessed via the Provider Portal.

Disability Access Fund Audit

Support videos

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) further information