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Direct payments for childcare

The Special Needs Inclusion Playcare Service (SNIPS) can provide you the option of receiving a direct payment if you would prefer to employ a Personal Assistant (PA) to meet your childcare needs. However, please note that there is no legal requirement for SNIPS to provide this direct payment.

Direct payments for childcare are only available to children and young people up to their 18th birthday.

To be eligible for a direct payment for childcare the following requirements will need to be satisfied:

  1. Parents and carers must have parental responsibility for the disabled child or young person
  2. Where there are two parents or carers in the household, both must be in paid employment or undertaking relevant training and must both be working or training at the same time as the hours are used. SNIPS will not provide funding for more than 40 hours per week.
  3. Parents and carers must be willing and able to undertake the financial responsibility of managing a direct payment and of recruiting and employing staff.

A support service is available free of charge via SNIPS who can provide information, support and advice.

Parents and carers must contribute at least £3.95 per hour to the PA’s hours rate. Sheffield City Council will add a contribution to the hourly rate to ensure that this is not below the National Living Wage.

Direct payment hours are paid for the actual hours that you are in work and reasonable travelling time. This can include evenings and weekends.

Personal Assistants could look after your child in their own home or support them to access universal recreation and leisure services. A DBS will need to be completed for the PA.

To apply for this service, families are asked to complete an application form which is available to download from the 'Downloads' section of this page. Upon receipt of the referral a brief assessment will be undertaken. Please note that the direct payments for childcare are reviewed annually and are subject to approval. Parents must ensure that they inform SNIPS if their circumstances change.

For further information in relation to childcare support, please telephone the SNIPS First Response telephone helpline on 0114 273 5368 or email


Last updated: 12 March 2021
Information owner: SNIPS

Last Updated: 30/03/2021
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