In spite of plans for an increase in accommodation places and specific forms of aid within the Walloon Brabrant region, accommodating preschool children remains problematic in Walloon Brabant. The increase in community places within day nurseries, children’s homes and other facilities, subsidised by the ONE (Birth and Children Office) is, in part, counterbalanced by the significant decrease in the number of state-funded places. According to ISBW (Walloon Brabrant inter-communal social organisation) on Monday, between 2010 and 2014, 235 state places were created whilst 148 were lost in state-funded childcare services.
The ISBW clarified, “In fact the increase is restricted to 87 subsidised places in five years. In Walloon Brabrant, state-funded merged childcare services increased from 56 places in 2010 to 160 places in 2014. During the same period, the number of subsidised child carers decreased by nearly a quarter, from 1035 places in 2010 to 783 in 2014. Opening merged childcare services has therefore allowed them to limit the effect of the reduction of the number of subsidised places in such services. Without it, the number of subsidised places would have decreased in five years, despite these programmes,” pointed out the ISBW.
Merged childcare services, whose operational costs are often financed by local councils or CPAS (Public Welfare Centres) have, however, started to hit recruitment problems. Just like their colleagues working on their own, childcare services that have grouped together are still waiting for an attractive status. While calling for a genuine status for childcare professionals to be created urgently, the ISBW has also devised a pilot project made up of mini childcare organisations (grouping together three contractors) able to provide childcare for ten children.
Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)