Study into funding of childcare in the Caribbean Netherlands

In order to ensure that the future childcare compensation is realistic and organizations can continue to provide good childcare, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) commissioned a study into the costs of childcare in the Caribbean Netherlands. Based on this study, the research agency Amsterdam Bureau for Economics (EBA)  gives an advice about the funding system by which  the level of the future childcare compensation can be determined.

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The BES Childcare proposal for a new law, which was submitted to the House of Representatives this year, states that the central government will pay a large part of the costs of childcare. In the end, parents will have to pay only a small part of all the costs. The exact amounts are still to be determined. This required a study into the exact costs of childcare in cases where a childcare facility meets all the requirements of good quality. This study, in which more than three quarters of all the childcare organizations in the Caribbean Netherlands participated, has now been completed.

The study results

EBA concludes that there are considerable cost differences between organizations and that income from subsidy and parental contributions was insufficient to cover costs for many organizations. Differences between organizations are mainly due to differences in the number of children looked after by one carer, the salary costs and the number of additional staff members employed for work such as cooking, cleaning, transport and odd jobs. In terms of housing and materials, there are relatively few cost differences between the organizations.

Based on their analysis, the researches recommend a system which is based as much as possible on objective (quality) criteria, such as the prescribed number of children per carer and the training requirements. They propose an allowance per day part. This allowance is made up of separate amounts for staffing, housing and other costs.

In order to calculate the exact level of the future childcare compensation, a number of decisions still need go be taken, according to the researchers. For example, which employment conditions must be taken into account in anticipation of a collective labour agreement for the childcare industry, and whether a mark-up factor must be applied because the occupancy rate may not always be 100%.

The follow-up

Based on the study, the Ministry of SZW, in collaboration with the public entities, will present a proposal for the system by the end of this year. This proposal will be discussed with childcare organizations and parents during consultation sessions on the three islands. The proposal will subsequently be submitted to the Minister for a decision.

Expectations are that the final decision on the funding system and the level of the structural childcare allowance (including parental contribution) can be taken in the autumn of 2024, by which time the BES Childcare proposal for a new law will have also been handled in  the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Until then, the temporary subsidy scheme for childcare organizations will remain in force. The intention is that the current subsidy amounts will be adjusted  as of the  1st of January 2024. The maximum parental contribution will remain the same.

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