A total of 2,100 new childcare places will be created in the next four years in Brussels as part of a multi-million euro project to improve the sector and the wellbeing of future generations.
According to the Brussels-Capital Regional government, improving the quality and accessibility of childcare is one of the most effective ways to promote the well-being and development of children, as well as helping to combat child poverty.
“We are once again giving priority to areas with a shortage of childcare places where the coverage rate is below the regional average. The same specific criteria are paramount, such as being unemployed or being a single-parent family,” Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, stated.
The creation of the new places is part of a plan launched in March 2020 named “the first thousand days,” mirroring the fact that quality care in the first thousand days of life has positive effects, especially for children from very disadvantaged backgrounds.
“The first thousand days of a child’s life are essential for his or her future development. Childcare structures fulfil a fundamental educational and social function for the adults of tomorrow,” Bénédicte Linard, Minister for Child Welfare of the French Community, said.
“By providing more places that are also of good quality, we are giving more children the chance of a good start in life. ”
The new spots in French-speaking daycares will be created by 2026, starting with 876 being created in the first phase. Another 1,224 new childcare places will be created later, prioritising municipalities and neighbourhoods where the coverage rate of subsidised places is less than 33%.
The total budget provided by the region for the plan, which includes some 25 projects, will be €14 million.
Reducing barriers to employment
This decision will not only help make childcare structures more accessible but will also help support the people working in the childcare sector.
Between 2014 and 2021, 1,367 subsidised places were made available for childcare in Brussels, accounting for around 195 jobs. Starting in 2022, a total of about 300 subsidised contractor jobs will be created, for which an additional €2 million will be allocated.
“All too often, we find that the lack of crèche places remains a major obstacle to employment, especially among women,” Benard Clerfayt, Minister for Employment, said.
“By making the care of young children a priority for the allocation of co-employment, the Region shows that it has taken on the priority of meeting the care needs of Brussels parents.”