Reorientation of early childhood and care
Government creates legal basis for the establishment of the "Centre of the German-speaking Community for Childcare". In the course of the work on the reorientation of early childhood care, the government of the German-speaking Community adopted the preliminary draft decree for the creation of the para-community institution in February. The new "Centre of the German-speaking Community for Childcare" is to start its service already on 1 June in order to prepare for the takeover of the activities of the V.o.G. RZKB, which is to take place in January 2024. In order to create greater planning security for the activities of the Regional Centre for Early Childhood Care (RZKB) as well as for its staff, the conventional (co-) childminders and the parents and children in East Belgium, the government is creating a public law framework adapted to today's challenges. This is done by creating a paragemeinschaftliche Einrichtung - an institution of public interest.
The government is already creating the centre on 1 June to take over certain preparatory activities before taking over all tasks in January 2024. This includes, for example, submitting contract offers to the staff members and the conventional childminders of the RZKB. The scope of the centre's tasks is set out in the decree. On the one hand, the centre will provide childcare, especially through a childminder service, crèches and at out-of-school care locations. On the other hand, the centre will perform tasks for the entire childcare sector, such as networking, promoting further education or advising other service providers. The responsibilities of Kaleido East Belgium in the field of early childhood care have already been exercised by the RZKB since 1 January. Furthermore, the decree regulates the role of the municipalities in the new institution. The existing contracts with the RZKB are to be replaced.
Restructuring of early childcare
In the new public interest institution, which will replace the RZKB in 2023, the forces in early childcare will be combined to strengthen the sector and make it fit for the future. Together with the various stakeholders, the government is currently working on the content of the facility and the associated pedagogical childcare concept. In April 2022, the Minister of Education and the Regional Centre for Early Childhood Care (RZKB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a public interest institution. This Memorandum of Understanding sets the framework for the realignment of early childhood care. Both the Regional Centre for Early Childhood Care (RZKB) and the service for the healthy development of children and young people, Kaleido East Belgium, are affected by the reorientation. With the creation of the institution, on the one hand, the long requested full statute for the conventional childminders will be introduced and, on the other hand, the responsibilities will be centralised or bundled in that the RZKB will in future also take over the monitoring and counselling of the private childcare structures. Furthermore, the entire staff of the RZKB will be transferred to the new facility, with all the advantages of public service.
Increase of the subsidy for function and rental costs for self-employed (co-)childminders
The Government of the German-speaking Community is increasing the annual subsidy for functional and rental costs for self-employed (co-)childminders and the childminders' homes by 100 euros per childcare place. This additional support measure takes effect retroactively as of 1 April 2022. Since 1 January 2021, the self-employed childminders and co-childminders have received a subsidy for functional and rental costs in the amount of 1,000 to 2,000 euros per year per childcare place. The basis for the calculation of the subsidy is the status of the childminder or the exercise of the profession as a main or secondary occupation and the associated social security contributions.On the initiative of the Minister of Education, the tax-exempt daily allowance for conventional childminders has already increased to 25.50 euros per child for all-day care as of 1 April 2022.
Childcare online portal In order to adapt childcare services to the current and future needs of families, there is a need for an online portal to search for, allocate and manage childcare places. To this end, the website "meinekinderbetreuung.be" and the corresponding administration portal were designed in cooperation between the Ministry of the German-speaking Community, the RZKB (Regional Zentrum für Kleinkindbetreuung), Kaleido East Belgium and the Antwerp-based developer company, and are constantly being developed. The public has had access to the website since autumn 2020. The Ministry of the German-speaking Community provides a helpdesk for citizens and services. Here, help with applications as well as help with using the system can be claimed.
Crèches With the government decree of 15 July 2021, the subsidy for the providers of crèches was adjusted so that they can offer their services in a way that covers their costs.
Subsidies for childminders affiliated to a service Childminders, who continue to receive a tax-free cost allowance/child for their work, will experience an increase in this cost allowance to €23/child/day as of 1 October 2021.
Digitalisation in childcare All childminders, whether they are affiliated to a service or work independently, will be provided with a laptop and compensation for internet connection.
Promotion of self-employed childminders and childminders' homes. A function and rent subsidy for a maximum of 4 childcare places per self-employed childminder was introduced on 1 January 2021. This amounts to between € 1,000 and € 3,000/year/child. Furthermore, in addition to the already existing lump sum for equipment, the self-employed childminders are provided with additional pedagogical material. The previous financial support for further training of self-employed childminders has been doubled.