Objectives and accessibility
As well as day-care centres for children, child-minding services are also available, especially for children under the age of three. The general objectives of day care for children according to Book Eight of the Social Code (Achtes Buch Sozialgesetzbuch – Kinder- und Jugendhilfe) mentioned in the introduction also apply to home-based provision of day care for children. Here one or more children are cared for by a childminder in a private home or an apartment or house rented for this purpose. Children in day-care centres are sometimes also looked after by a childminder if the opening times of the institution do not suit the needs of parents. Pursuant to Book Eight of the Social Code (§ 24 paragraphs 2 and 3), the legal entitlement to a publicly subsidised place in day care from the age of one may be used in home-based provision until children reach three years of age.
On the federal level, within the framework of public welfare responsibility for early childhood education and care (ECEC) in home-based provision lies with the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend – BMFSFJ), on the level of the Länder, the Ministries of Youth and Social Affairs are the competent authorities.
Requirements for childminders and child ratios
Since 2005 minimum qualification requirements for the childminder are in place. Child-minding services should provide an alternative which in terms of quality equals the supervision in day-care centres, in particular for children below the age of three. Within the scope of the Child Day Care Action Programme (Aktionsprogramm Kindertagespflege), the German Youth Institute (Deutsches Jugendinstitut – DJI) has established a curriculum of 160 hours as the minimum standard for the training of childminders. Besides the qualification of childminders on the basis of this standard, the programme also provided for the option of continuing education while in employment and permanent employment models for childminders.
The aim of the federal programme Childminding: Because the Smallest Ones Need Closeness (Kindertagespflege: Weil die Kleinsten große Nähe brauchen) (2016-2018) and the follow-up programme ProChildminding: Where Education for the Smallest Starts (ProKindertagespflege: Wo Bildung für die Kleinsten beginnt) (2019-2022) was to further develop the qualification of childminding staff and to sustainably strengthen the childminding profession. With these programmes, the Federation supported, inter alia, the introduction, implementation and sustainable anchoring of qualifications according to the Qualification Manual Childminding (Qualifizierungshandbuch Kindertagespflege – QHB) for the education and care of children below the age of three in the qualification of childminding personnel. The QHB realigns the basic qualification of childminding staff. It extends the basic qualification to 300 teaching units plus internships and self-learning units. The 300 teaching units are divided into 160 teaching units of activity-preparing and 140 teaching units of activity-accompanying basic qualification. In addition to 100 hours of self-study, the future childminders complete a total of 80 hours of practical training. Due to the increased scope of qualification, the QHB also opens up new possibilities for follow-up qualification for vocational training paths for child day care workers.
Specifically, the programme of the Federation ProChildminding: Where Education for the Smallest Starts promotes the qualification of childminders, better working conditions and good cooperation in day care. According to the motto “Qualified action and care”, childminding is to be further strengthened and the framework conditions improved. At each of 32 model locations, support was provided in 2022 for a coordination office, the qualification of child-minders in accordance with the QHB, and material costs for work in seven mandatory subject areas. In this way, measures were implemented at the locations, e.g. to recruit and retain skilled workers, to work together with families and on substitution arrangements. The BMFSFJ provided funding totalling Euro 28 million for the four-year ProChildminding programme, which runs from 2019 to the end of 2022. During the funding period, up to 47 locations were funded with up to Euro 150,000 each per year. Due to corona-related delays, especially in the implementation of the QHB courses, the programme was extended by another year until the end of 2022.
In accordance with Book Eight of the Social Code (§ 43 paragraph 3), the childminder-child ratio is a maximum of five children per childminder.