Objectives and accessibility
Family nurseries are regulated by the Child Protection Act as an alternative to centre-based nursery care. Family nurseries also follow the national core programme of kindergarten education.
The same authorities are mainly responsible for both home-based and centre-based provision. The relevant local government departments are in charge.
Establishment of a family nursery
A family nursery does not qualify as an institution, so the rules for its establishment and operation differ in some respects from traditional institutional set-ups. The operator of a family nursery can be the state (municipal authority), a non-governmental organisation (non-profit or for-profit company, non-governmental organisation or self-employed individuals) or a church. The obligatory tasks and competencies of the operator are set out in law. The operation of a family nursery is subject to registration in the register of service providers.
The operator applies for registration with the relevant government office. The registration procedure is carried out electronically. The online interface used for this administration is that of the National Social Information System (Országos Szociális Információs Rendszer). A family nursery service can be provided by a person who meets the conditions set out in the legislation (i.e. they are of legal age, they have the capacity to act, they have no criminal record, they are able to provide daycare in accordance with the preconditions, there is no legal ground for exclusion for service provision and they have successfully completed the course prescribed by law). Those working in a family nursery – including substitute assistants providing cover and, in the case of a network, the network coordinator – must have a medical declaration and a valid occupational health aptitude test certificate. The service provider must be employed by the operator. This means self-employment in the case of an entrepreneur.
Children can be cared for in family nurseries from the age of 20 weeks to 3 years. Due to the nature of the service, family nurseries can be significantly easier and faster to set up than institutional service provision – either in the service provider’s own home or in another facility designed for this purpose.
Monitoring family nurseries
At least every 2 years, the licensing body checks, based on an on-site inspection, that the service provider is operating in accordance with the provisions of the law and the operating licence. The authority may involve the designated methodological organisation in the course of the inspection as an expert on the professional adequacy of the service. If the authority finds deficiencies or breaches during the inspection, it may call on the operator to rectify them and restore the lawful operation within a period of not less than 20 days and not more than 4 months.
Financing of family nurseries
The total operating costs of a family nursery can be financed from several sources: partly from support provided from the annual national budget, if the conditions are met, and partly from the individual fees paid by parents.
The central budget provides funding for the operation of family nurseries. In 2022, the value of this funding was HUF 879 850 per child per year. If family nursery care is provided by an association, HUF 1 143 500 per year can be claimed for each child .
Centre-based nurseries are the most significant part of early childhood education and care provision, whereas family nurseries are a less frequently used form of childcare. The operators of family nurseries are predominantly civil organisations and non-profit enterprises (in 2019, 71 % of family nurseries were operated by them – data from 2018).
Daytime childminding is a form of daycare in which the person providing the service provides age-appropriate care to:
- children who do not receive nursery care or kindergarten education;
- children who are exempted from kindergarten education;
- homeschooled children;
- schoolchildren out of school time and school activities;
- school-children during school breaks.
Generally, children can be cared for in daytime childminding from the age of 20 weeks until the end of the school year in which they reach the age of 14 years. Children with special educational needs or who are eligible for early development and care support can receive care in daytime childminding until the end of the school year in which they reach the age of 16 years.
Requirements for childminders and child ratios
There are two different routes to working as a childminder in a family nursery. The person providing care may obtain a certificate of early childhood care following a 100-hour course (a course prescribed in the ministerial decree specifying the qualification requirements for persons providing nursery services), or they may be qualified as an early childhood practitioner, the requirements for which are set out in the decree.
A maximum of five children can be cared for in a family nursery, unless an assistant is employed in addition to the person providing the nursery service (childminder); in this case, an additional two children can be enrolled.
Up to seven children can be cared for in a daytime childminding service, including the service provider’s own children if they do not receive daycare elsewhere. There is an exception to this if the provider also provides daytime childminding care for a child with special educational needs or who is eligible for early childhood development and care support. In this latter case, a total of five children can be cared for. In the case of the simultaneous care of two or three children with special educational needs, a maximum of three children may be cared for.
Daytime childminding services may be provided by an adult with no criminal record who has successfully completed the course prescribed in the ministerial decree specifying the qualification requirements for persons providing daytime childminding services. The central budget does not provide funding for the operation of daytime childminding.