In the Netherlands, the childcare situation in recent years has undergone a number of changes that have affected parents and this 2020 is no exception in the decision making of the organizations that provide their services.
Decisions that we will start to see from 2022 onwards and that will have an impact on many children and therefore on parents in our country.
What is happening?
The shortage of staff in day care centers is so great that the organizations unilaterally terminate the agreement with the parents, so that they can no longer meet the quality requirements demanded of them.
The childcare organization (BK). "The shortage of staff is very great and there are no easy solutions. According to their statements, they tell us that by informing parents about the closures, we will see more frequent closures in the future.
Emmeline Bijlsma, director of the childcare sector organization BK, has confirmed that dozens of children can no longer receive care, she said. "They are still very few out of a total of 823,000 children. These are one-off cases, but it's terrible. Parents are at a loss.
Bijlsma also warned of the danger of making childcare too cheap, as the coalition agreement states. "Then there will be even more demand. We will only be able to meet it if there is a programme that helps us to do so." She made these statements for an interview on RTL niews.
Bijslma herself said in the same interview: "There are more and more reports of cancelled childcare contracts. First it was from parents who were going to start in two months. Now it's from parents who are already using the day care centre".
One of the organisations affected is Partou, the largest day care centre in the Netherlands, which from 1 February will make changes by dissolving two groups in one of its day care centres in Utrecht. This has created uncertainty for parents, who were informed by letter before Christmas that they will have a few weeks to find a solution to this measure, as it will come into effect on 1 February 2022.
David Gribnau, spokesman for Partou, says: "We are trying to solve these kinds of problems in the first instance by looking at the children or looking at the days of care. It's being adapted and measured across the sector because of staff shortages and because these kinds of issues really affect all organizations."
Other organizations, such as De Kleine Wereld, with fourteen day-care centers (KDV) in Amsterdam, sent a three-sided letter to parents and carers and Hero children's centers, one of the leading ones in the Randstad with 20 kdvs, also struggle with this problem.
According to spokesperson Astrid Bogerman "There is a severe shortage of staff",
"Normally we have a group of pedagogical employees that we can deploy in case of illness. The people in that group have been put on permanent contracts. But the group can no longer be supplemented, there are no more people with the right training".
How the Corona has affected this situation to increase?
It is true that the situation as a whole is not the fault of the Corona. It has been influenced by the fact that absenteeism is currently higher than usual in schools.
What do parents think?
Gjalt Jellesma, chairman of the parents' interest group for childcare (BOinK), says that the problem is growing rapidly due to staff shortages. "At first it was mostly temporary closures, now whole groups are being disbanded.
Parents are worried about the situation, as for many of them it is the first time that an organization has had to dissolve two groups. Given the situation, parents are calling for more kindergartens.
Therefore, the demand for childcare is already increasing, there are waiting lists, parents are preparing for the new situation. They ask for an extension of the contract "from two to three, four or even five days".
According to Bijlsma's statements to RTL niews, the problem will become more frequent in the near future, especially now that the new cabinet wants to make childcare practically free in the long term and to increase the quality requirements for hiring staff.