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Decline in Dutch-speaking day cares in Brussels

Credits: Belga

The number of available places in Dutch-speaking preschool childcare located in Brussels is decreasing, sparking criticism from a Flemish MP, saying that Flanders is not doing enough for Brussels childcare.

Flemish MP Hannelore Goeman spoke out on Twitter about the specific drop in daycare options available to Dutch-speaking children in Brussels, which decreased from 6,962 in 2019 to 6,720 places in 2020. In previous years, these numbers had already been declining.

 

 “What keeps every Flemish parent in Brussels awake at night? You’re right, whether there is room in Flemish day-care centres. And now the number of places is declining,” the tweet reads.  “Incomprehensible. Wouter Beke must now come up with a solid plan for extra places or even more families will leave due to lack of day-care options.”

This was highlighted during questioning in the Flemish Parliament by minister Wouter Beke. He stated that the main reason behind this decline was the fact that many French-speaking crèches no longer fall under the supervision of Kind & Gezin, and have instead joined ONE (its French-speaking counterpart). 

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A result of stricter language checks

This decrease highlights the disregard of the Flemish Government for this issue, adding that it is merely passively standing by and watching these places disappear, according to Goeman.

She told Bruzz that Flanders strives to provide childcare for 1 in 6 Brussels children. “According to its own standards, the Flemish community should provide 8,495 places for Dutch-speaking childcare in Brussels, currently there are in reality only 6,720.

“The Flemish community is directly responsible for the fact that more and more parents are forced to find a place in Brussels. the French-speaking reception or even leaving the city.”

Wouter Beke’s cabinet told Bruzz that the places that have disappeared were almost exclusively French-speaking crèches that could no longer be retained under Kind & Gezin’s management, as it has made its language checks more strict. 

The same figures quoted by Wouter Beke showed that the share of places based on income is clearly increasing, from 63% in 2017 to 72% last year.

Beke emphasised his commitment to increasing the number of income-related places, saying the government plans to add 250 in Brussels between 2021 and 2024.

Lauren Walker

The Brussels Times

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