Postponing free childcare ‘unfortunate for parents’

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Minister of Social Affairs Karien van Gennip thinks it is ‘a pity for parents’ that childcare will not become almost free for everyone from 2025, but only two years later. ‘I think it is very important that we implement it carefully, because it would not benefit anyone if prices went through the roof in 2025,’ the minister told political reporter Mats Akkerman.

Tightness

There is currently a major shortage of staff in the childcare sector, long waiting lists and concerns about quality. ‘The studies say that if we suddenly increase demand enormously, there is a chance that either the price will go through the ceiling or the quality will drop. In any case, there are concerns about accessibility.’ That is why the minister opts for a step-by-step introduction. ‘I think in the end we will all be happy if after two years we can say: this is a nice system, this is a nice system and we have a good offer for everyone.’

‘It will be a completely different system’

Karien van Gennip, Minister of Social Affairs

The childcare allowance will be increased significantly in 2025 and 2026, says Van Gennip. ‘That’s important for the market, because that will increase demand and supply can gradually grow in line with that.’ It is now up to the government to determine who the childcare allowance should be aimed at. ‘So that we ensure that the parents really benefit from it.’

New plans

The new childcare plan, which should have taken effect in 2025, was designed together with the implementers and the sector. We looked at affordability, accessibility and quality, explains Van Gennip. That means almost free, namely a reimbursement of 96 percent for parents. This allowance will be paid to the childcare organizations, so no longer to the parents themselves. ‘It will be a completely different system,’ said the minister.

The plans should also ensure that women work more. Despite the fact that almost free childcare has been shelved, that goal remains, says the minister. ‘The moment you let the supply grow in those two years, more women also have the chance to work because there are more places at the shelter. But we can’t suddenly increase demand on January 1, 2025, because then you get a market that gets stuck.’

Minister of Social Affairs Karien van Gennip thinks it is 'a pity for parents' that childcare will not become almost free for everyone from 2025, but only two years later.
Minister of Social Affairs Karien van Gennip thinks it is ‘a pity for parents’ that childcare will not become almost free for everyone from 2025, but only two years later. (ANP / RAMON VAN FLYMEN)

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