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New organisation of day nurseries after New Year’s Day

09-01-2018

 

Three times higher budget expenses for supporting the development of day nurseries, easier setting up of these establishments, greater safety of children and possibility of exemption from charges and property tax – these are only a few changes in the care system for children under 3, which entered into force at the beginning of the new year.

 

According to the 2013 Social Diagnosis survey, one of the important or very important reasons for which the Poles do not have children are problems in reconciling work and parenthood, as well as the lack of places or too high charges in day nurseries.

 

Government eliminate barriers

 

For many years, the Poles have encountered numerous barriers on their way to pursue their procreation needs. The current Government shall eliminate these barriers as part of the consistently pursued family policy. In July, the Parliament, on the Government’s initiative, adopted a package of changes for families. Consequently, the solutions have been adopted which are aimed at encouraging Polish families to have more children and implementing significant facilities in their raising.

 

Good change in day nurseries

 

The development of the care system for the children is supported by the state budget. Since 2015, the Government have allocated PLN 151 million every year for that purpose. The task is financed under the ministerial programme of development of childcare facilities “TODDLER+”. Through support from the state budget, since 2016 the increase in the number of places has been significantly accelerated – up to about 5.6 places. In 2017, another 12 thousand are to be created.

 

70% of municipalities without day nurseries

 

Despite the steady and large increase in the number of institutions and in the number of places available there, the needs are still enormous, the more than in more than 70% of municipalities in Poland lack any childcare facilities for children under 3.

 

New solutions

 

The family package, adopted by the Parliament in July, introduced amendments to the Act on childcare for children under 3. In practice, it is about a number of facilities in setting up and managing management of day nurseries, which means that operators managing such establishments will have greater investment certainty. Effect? More childcare facilities. The amendments are also aimed at reducing the costs of the functioning of these establishments, which should involve lower childcare charges. This, in turn, will make it possible for parents to combine professional and family responsibilities.

 

Three times more funds for day nurseries

 

In order to make day nurseries more accessible, and to reduce charges for the stay of children in establishments, as from the new year the Government shall allocate, under the “Toddler+” programme, as many as PLN 450 million for childcare facilities. This amount is three times higher than ever. Moreover, the increased pool of funds for childcare facilities is almost equivalent to 50% of the amount (PLN 1 billion), which, on a yearly basis, is spent on childcare institutions for children under 3 by all these municipalities in Poland where such establishments already exist. The increased pool of funds for day nurseries will not only allow to set up and guarantee the functioning of childcare facilities but will also reduce charges paid by parents.

 

Easier setting up of childcare facilities for children under 3

 

At the beginning of 2018, operators which can set up day nurseries and children’s clubs will be joined by local government units, other than municipalities, and public institutions. Importantly, as from the new year a day caregiver can be also a self-employed natural person and a natural person employed by local government units other than municipalities, public institutions or natural persons. Before the change, a day caregiver could be employed only by municipalities, legal persons or non-corporate units.

 

Greater investment certainty

 

Another facility in setting up and managing day nurseries, which will enter into force as from the new year, is the abolition of a requirement for a day nursery to have at least two rooms for children. As the area of each room must grow in proportion to the number of children, it was unreasonable to maintain the requirement of providing a separate room serving as a bedroom, because it was used to a much lesser extent.

 

Importantly, the abolition of the requirement to have two rooms will reduce the investment costs related to setting up a day nursery, as well as the current costs associated with the rental and heating charges. Day nurseries still will be required to provide children with a place to rest but this can be done within one room. The reduction in the investment and current costs associated with setting up and managing day nurseries will result in a significant increase in the number of these establishments, as well as an increase in the number of places in those which already exist.

 

Exemptions from charges and property taxes

 

Thanks to the new legislation, which entered into force on 1 January, the costs associated with charges and property taxes as well as other charges for the state or for the local government budget will be reduced, in the fashion of kindergartens. In practice, this means that day nurseries and children’s clubs will be exempted from charges on properties owned by the State Treasury or local government units and from property taxes.

 

High standards of care

 

Changes in day nurseries will be implemented while maintaining high standards of childcare. The point here is, inter alia, introducing a requirement for caregivers to participate in first-aid training every two years. In addition, all employees of day nurseries and children’s club will be checked for whether or not they are included in the database of sexual offenders or were convicted of an intentional offence by a valid court judgement.

 

More facilities

 

The beginning of 2018 will also bring a possibility of greater integration of day nurseries and children’s clubs with kindergartens. In addition, pursuant to the new legislation, children will stay at children’s clubs for the same amount of time as in day nurseries, thus, up to 10 hours. Children’s clubs will be, however, smaller and more private, for up to 30 children.

 

More subjective role of parents

 

But this is not the end. The new rules also provide for the greater involvement of parents in making decisions on management a day nursery or a children’s club, and for giving them the right to control the conditions of the stay of children in those establishments. Parents of children attending a day nursery or children’s club will be able to form a parents’ council to which the Act guarantees specific powers. The parents’ council shall be authorised to visit the rooms of a day nursery or to inspect documents relating to the nutrition of children, and shall serve as a consultative and advisory role in matters concerning a day nursery or children’s club, including, in particular, with regard to conducting educational activities.

 

Food quality under control

 

A lot of attention has been devoted in the new legislation to the quality of the nutrition of children. It is envisaged to introduce the rules referring to the nutrition standards developed by the National Food and Nutrition Institute. This is the new quality, because the previous legislation did not govern the issues of nutrition, indicating only the obligation to provide food in day nurseries and the possibility of eating hygienically. Consequently, those meals were not controlled in terms of the content of nutrients. The proposed amendment is to increase the quality of meals in day nurseries and children’s clubs and to provide food control in these establishments. Such controls may also be carried out by parents’ representatives.

 

Real and free choice

 

The introduction of facilities in setting up and managing day nurseries while maintaining high standards of childcare and significant financial support from municipalities and other entities in this regard will result in creating new establishments and reducing costs incurred by parents for the stay of their children in these establishments. Thanks to this, parents will be given a real and free choice of a childcare form, as well as will be able to decide on their family life and professional activity.

 

New organisation of day nurseries after New Year’s Day New organisation of day nurseries...
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