Objectives and assessibility
Up to the age of 3 years, children mostly attend regulated home-based care, which is provided by childminders. Childminders either work independently, and thus determine the contractual details of the care themselves, or are affiliated to the Regional Centre for the Care of Small Children (Regionalzentrum für Kleinkindbetreuung (RZKB)) as part of a childminding service . In both cases, childminders care for the children in the childminders’ own homes. Every childminder is free to determine their own educational programme.
The care times and days vary as much as is decided by the childminder. Not all childminders look after children every day from Monday to Friday.
Childminders have the option of working together in groups of two or three in shared premises (co-childminders). The parents sign a childcare contract with the childminder as usual and the childminder is the child’s reference person.
Every self-employed childminder must be approved by the government of the German-speaking Community. They work with socioeducational specialists from Kaleido Ostbelgien.
Self-employed childminders determine the contractual details of the care, such as the parental contribution for the childcare. The parental contribution is partially tax deductible for children up to the age of 14 years.
Every childminder affiliated with the RZKB is licensed by the RZKB. The RZKB’s sociopedagogical specialists work with childminders. The parental contribution for childminding services is calculated on the basis of the household’s income and the duration of care. Each affiliated childminder receives the same compensation, regardless of the amount the parents pay to the RZKB.
The Ministry of the German-speaking Community does not provide any specific regulations on home-based provision of childcare. However, the government writ on childcare dated 18 January 2007 (Article 5, Section 1) states ‘Every person, jurist or not, and every effective association that offers childcare services must be accredited within the scope of the current writ in pursuance of the decree.’ In order to be accredited, a facility has to submit an enquiry to the Service for Children and Families, including miscellaneous documents ‘that contain the service’s detailed policy, specifies objectives, the care policy, a description of the infrastructure, job descriptions of personnel, a transcription of the cooperation with legal guardians and other institutions, and the health policy’ (Articles 12, §1, 7° et 30, 7). The ‘service policy’ is then evaluated and reviewed by the Service for Children and Families.
Requirements for childminders and child ratios
Each childminder looks after a maximum of five children aged 0–12 years.
There is no minimum qualification level and no specific training is required to become a childminder. Consultants from the Service for Children and Families supervise and advise self-employed childminders and provide further training.