On the new website ‘gratis kinderopvang’ (free childcare), the Social Childcare Sector Foundation BMK has answered questions regarding this new initiative. What do the plans mean in practice for parents and for children? And what are the implications for childcare providers and their staff? When will the plans come into effect? How will the Dutch government pay the compensation for childcare?
What will change?
From 1st January 2025, the Dutch government will pay 95% of childcare costs for working parents. This will make childcare a lot more affordable for many parents.
Working parents no longer have to pay the entire bill in advance. They pay only their personal contribution of 5%. If the family income changes (e.g. by working more or fewer hours), this will no longer affect childcare costs. Parents also no longer risk having to pay back potentially high amounts they have received.
Because you see what your actual monthly costs are, paying for childcare will become easy and clear. This means no more hassle for parents!
A good first step, but more is needed
This is a good first step that the Dutch government is making, because both children and their parents will be able to benefit from professional childcare. We know from research that childcare is good for a child’s development. The first 1000 days (link in Dutch) are crucial for the development of the brain of the young child. Children who have received no or too little emotional support or stimulation between the ages of 0 and 4 are at a disadvantage that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Early-years childcare benefits children throughout their lives: they do better in school and are more successful in their careers.
There is also a growing awareness that children need different competences for the society of the future. Out-of-school care can make an important contribution in the development of these competences and in broadening talent development in children aged 4 to 12 years. Childcare lays a solid foundation for a child’s lifelong development.
Good childcare for every child
This is why all children, including children of non-working parents, are entitled to professional guidance by pedagogical staff who stimulate them in their emotional, physical, social and motor skills development. This enables children to increase their self-confidence, become aware of their talents, and develop social skills and a positive sense of self-worth.