Ukrainian migrant support hub

A gateway for Ukrainian migrants and those who support them to access information, events and services.
Шлюз для доступу до інформації, подій та послуг для українських мігрантів та тих, хто їх підтримує.

Looking after your family


Both parents have responsibility to pay for the costs of having children, even if they are separated. Everyone is also entitled to a level of free support from the age of 2 from the government regardless of their immigration status.

When arranging child care you should try and plan ahead as far as possible. There is often a shortage of spaces, particularly during school holidays.

Find what financial support you’re entitled to

The level of free support you can access will depend on the age of your child, and whether you meet the eligibility requirements of the schemes available.

Support can include paying for nursery costs, holiday clubs, and after-school clubs. Financial support is generally only available from registered child care providers. If you have an informal arrangement, such as a relative who looks after your child, you may not be eligible for support with the cost of this.

The government provide an online tool that can help you understand what support you’re entitled to. You can also get a benefits check or advice from a free benefits advice organisation which will help you see what support you can get via the benefits system.

Find a child care solution
Pre-schools and playgroups

Pre-schools provide child care for 3-4 hours during school term time for children aged between 3 and 5.

Child minders

Child minders are usually self-employed people who provide child care for small groups of children, in their own home. You would typically be expected to drop your child off at their home, but some may be able drive them to or from school for you. If the child minder falls sick, it will be up to you to find alternative child care.

There are websites that can help you find suitable child minders – or you may be able to ask people you know for recommendations. When contacting child minders, you should check if they are registered, what is and isn’t included in their costs, and any polices they have around sickness.

Day nurseries / day care

Day nurseries provide child care and education to children up to the age they start primary school. They are usually open from 8am to 6pm on week days. They are often more expensive than child minders.

Nursery schools

Nursery schools provide early education to children between 3 and 5. They are usually free if they are attached to a primary school.

They are typically part of a primary school, and only open during school terms.

Wrap around / out of school care

Many schools provide child care before and after school starts. This may be a breakfast club where you can drop your child off around 8am, or after school clubs where your child can remain usually until around 6pm. There will be a cost for this, but you may be able to get support for this cost from the government. There may also be holiday schemes in place during school holidays.

You can ask your school what is available.

Help from a relative or close friend

You are allowed to leave your child with a relative. Unless they are a registered child care provider, you won’t be able to get financial support for this.

You may also be able to leave your child with a friend. You should be aware that if your child is under 8, they must be a registered child minder if you want to leave them for more than 2 hours during normal working hours.

Leaving your child at home alone

Depending on the age and maturity of your child, it may be OK to leave them in the house without any child care – particularly once they are a teenager. The law doesn’t set a minimum age for this, but it is against the law to leave them on their own if it would leave them at risk of harm.

Apply for any financial support and benefits

You can apply for support online.

Handling changes in circumstances

If anything changes, such as your income, employment situation, where you live or family situation, you should let the government know. For example, if you’re getting child care support via Universal Credit, you should let them as soon as possible. You can usually do this online.


There are a wide variety of organisations that support parents by providing information, advice, and parenting classes. These include Children's Centres, which are for parents with young children.

Where to get help
Birmingham City Council
Children's Centres
Search for support options
Disciplining your child

It is illegal for anyone to hit your child. It is illegal for you to hit or slap your child in Scotland and Wales. In the rest of the country, it would be illegal if hitting them leaves any injury or visible marks.

If you neglect or harm your children, the government social services can intervene. In severe cases, they have the power to remove your children from you if that is required to protect them.

There on online resources that describe alternative ways to discipline a child. There are also organisations offering courses and other support for parents.

Where to get help
Search for support options

The NHS provides free healthcare throughout the journey of pregnancy and childbirth. Other organisations offer advice, classes and other support with pregnancy.

Where to get help
Refugee and Migrant Centre
Health Services
Get a test

If think you might be pregnant, you can buy a testing kit from any pharmacy, and most supermarkets. You can do a pregnancy test three weeks after unprotected sex, or once you have missed a period.

What if I can’t afford a testing kit?

You can ask your GP or local sexual health centre, as many of these offer a free testing kits. Some charities may also be able to give you a test kit.

Decide what you want to do

If you’re pregnant, you should consider what you want to do. You will have free medical and practical support through the pregnancy if you choose to go ahead. If you do not want to have a baby, you can get an abortion. For many people this can be a difficult choice, so you may want to contact a free advice service to talk through your options.

Where to get help
Search for support options
Contact your GP to arrange support during your pregnancy

You will receive free support throughout pregnancy, birth and shortly after.

As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, you should see your GP. Your GP will be able to give you advice about your health and the pregnancy, and test for diseases and disorders. They will also put you in contact with a midwife who will support you through your pregnancy. 

Support through pregnancy and birth

You will be offered appointments throughout your pregnancy to ensure your baby is healthy, and help you prepare for the birth. You will be given ultrasound scans to find out when your baby is due and to check its development.

There are free classes that can help you learn how to stay healthy during pregnancy, prepare for birth, and look after your baby. These are called 'antenatal classes', and you can find out which ones are available by asking your midwife, health visitor or GP.

Giving birth

You can choose to give birth in a hospital, or in your own home if you prefer. If you choose to have your baby at home, your midwife will support you with this.


You can have an abortion up to 24 weeks into your pregnancy in the UK, except in Northern Ireland where the period is 12 weeks. Beyond this point, it is still legal if continuing with the pregnancy may cause a risk to your life, or there is evidence that your baby has a severe disability.

To get an abortion, you can talk to your GP or go to your nearest sexual health clinic. They will help refer you to a free abortion service.

I’m a teenager. Will they tell my parents?

The NHS will not tell your parents, unless they believe you are at risk of sexual abuse. They would usually discuss this with you first.

Domestic abuse and violence

Domestic abuse can include physical violence and emotional abuse such as repeated attempts to threaten, humiliate or frighten a person. It includes attempts to control a partner, through restricting who they are allowed to see, their access to money, and where they can go. It can also include forcing sex upon someone who does not consent – even if they are married.

Domestic abuse is a serious crime in the UK, and can result in prison sentences and serious consequences for immigration status.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, there is support and protection available for you and your children. There are safe places you can go to called refuges, as well as services you can talk to at any time. If you are in immediate danger, you should call 999 and ask for the police.

Calling 999

Dial 999 on a phone to speak to the emergency ambulance, police or fire services.

What should I do if my phone has no credit?

999 calls are free and you do not need credit on your phone.

Can I call 999 if I don’t speak English?

Yes. If you can't speak English, try saying the word ‘help’ in your own language, or say the name of your language. Stay on the line and don't hang up. The operator will try to identify your language and connect you to an interpreter service.

If there is someone nearby who can speak English it may be best to try and show them what has happened and get them to call.

What should I do if my partner is violent, and I can’t talk out loud?

Call 999. After you have connected, press ‘55’ on your phone. You will be transferred to the police. They will ask you simple yes or no questions, which you can respond to by tapping number buttons on your phone.

How do I use 999 if I'm hard of hearing or speech impaired?

If you're using the Relay UK app, type the 999 button. If you're using a textphone, call 18000. You'll then be connected to a Relay Assistant. Tell them which emergency service you need.

Can I send SMS messages to 999?

The emergencySMS service is for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech impairments, letting them send SMS messages to 999. You need to register with this service before you can use it.

Where to get help
Search for support options
What if my right to be in the UK is dependent on my partner?

Leaving them doesn’t necessarily mean you will have to leave the country. You can get free advice from an immigration advisor in this situation.

Where to get help
Search for support options