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.
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.
There have been no reforms. In view of the increasing demands and tasks placed on teachers teaching in kindergarten, the function of assistant has been introduced iin 2019. The assistants are present throughout the year to support the teachers in their work. They are responsible for various tasks, including support during educational activities, lunch, etc.