"Parents are not given a choice"

By Christian BlockLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

The availability of childcare through childminders has been decreasing for years – regionally and overall. The Ministry of Education now wants to act on the issue. Insight into a profession from which many cannot make a living.

Her petition had only moderate success. Just under 1,000 people supported Victoriya Pop's request for "fair treatment" of childminders. More than four times that number would have been needed for a hearing. Nevertheless, the mother of two children is not giving up hope.

Victoriya Pop only started working as a childminder last September. The family situation was decisive for her decision: this way she, who previously worked in a childcare facility, can react more flexibly to her children's school times. But it doesn't take long before she notices problems. Like many day nanny nannies before her, she experiences how parents start to have second thoughts when it is explained to them that they have to pay significantly more for this form of care than in a crèche or an after-school care centre.

The state contributes to the cost of childcare through the childcare voucher system (CSA). The household's income is taken into account as well as the number of children or the form of care. For crèches and after-school care, the maximum is six euros per hour, for "assistance parentale" a maximum of 3.75 euros (night supplement: 50 cents). The state subsidises a maximum of 60 hours per week. Children between the ages of one and four benefit from the multilingual early education programme in crèches and the like. This corresponds to 20 free hours. This does not apply to childminders.

Like Victoriya Pop, many childminders in the country are currently facing the same problem: without their partner's income, the bill doesn't add up. There are several reasons for this. For one thing, the job entails additional costs. The obligatory registration as a self-employed person with the National Health Fund (CNS) can amount to several hundred euros a month. However, if you want to be compensated for the loss of income in the event of illness from the first day onwards (albeit only to the tune of 80 per cent), you should also register with the Employer's Mutual Insurance Scheme. Nevertheless, the risk of temporary closure remains, for example if one's own offspring catches gastroenteritis. Professional liability insurance is also compulsory, as well as the adaptation of the flat, for example by securing stairs or windows, which in turn can be associated with costs. Daily necessities, food and drinks cost money. Whether the state contribution of 4.50 euros is sufficient to provide a balanced main meal can be doubted in view of increased prices, not to mention breakfast or snacks in between.

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