Support Bubbles and Childcare Bubbles

Please note that the current guidance still allows the support and childcare bubbles people have in tier 4.

It is important to note that if you are an single adult with children under 14 can form one childcare bubble and one support bubble with different households. Information on childcare bubbles are at the bottom of this page. Please note you cannot change the people in your support bubbles once you have chosen them. In addition you are able to also access other forms of formal childcare support .

If anyone in your support or childcare bubble develops symptoms or tests positive for coronavirus, follow the stay at home guidance. If you share custody of your child, and you and your child’s other parent are in separate bubbles, members of both bubbles should stay at home if someone develops symptoms.

For details on ‘Christmas Bubbles’ please click here.

Who can make Support Bubbles

If you share custody of your child with someone you do not live with:

  • If you’re a single-adult household, you can form a support bubble with another household other than the one that includes your child’s other parent.
  • If you’re not a single adult household, you can form a support bubble with a single-adult household other than the one that includes your child’s other parent.

If you have children under 14

  • You can form one childcare bubble and one support bubble with different households.
  • You must not meet socially with your support bubble and childcare bubble at the same time. Childcare bubbles must be used exclusively for the purposes of childcare.

If you’re in a single-adult household

  • You can form a support bubble with another household of any size that is not part of a support bubble with anyone else if you:
    • Live by yourself – even if carers visit you to provide support.
    • Are a single adult living with children who were under 18 on 12 June 2020.
  • If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, you should reduce social contacts as much as possible to minimise your risk of infection from people that you do not live with. However, if you feel it is essential for your physical or mental health, you can maintain an existing support bubble, or form a new one if you have not been in one since 14 September. This is a personal choice and should be balanced against the increased risk of infection.

If you live with other adults, including if your carer or carers live with you

  • You can form a support bubble with one single-adult household who are not part of a support bubble with anyone else.
Childcare Support Bubbles

A childcare bubble is where one household links with one other household to provide informal childcare to a child or children aged 13 or under. They can provide the childcare in either or both of the homes from the 2 households. ‘Informal’ childcare means it is unpaid and unregistered. Full details can be found on the Government Website. Below is a summary for residents.

If you’re eligible, you can form one childcare bubble and one support bubble with different households. You must not meet socially with your support bubble and childcare bubble at the same time. Childcare bubbles must be used exclusively for the purposes of childcare.

Other forms of childcare support (in addition to separate childcare and support bubbles):

  • Registered childcare providers.
  • Paid in-home childcare providers.
  • People in your support bubble (please note you can have a different household in you child care support bubble to you support bubble).
  • Early years settings and childminders remain open, and you can continue to use these settings as normal.
  • Nannies are able to work in your home or any other setting.

If your child lives in more than one location

  • You can mix indoors where necessary with the other parent to allow your child to move between homes.
  • Both you and the other parent can also form a childcare bubble with another household.
  • Similarly, if neither parent lives with your child (for example, because they are at boarding school), you and your child are permitted to leave home to see each other.
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