Childcare rules should be relaxed as soon as possible to free up more staff, now that shortages are spiraling out of control. This is what administrators of about 125 childcare organizations, together accounting for more than a quarter of the childcare capacity, write in a letter to the cabinet and the supervisor.
In practice we see that the demand for childcare is increasing enormously, while absenteeism due to illness does not fall quickly; also because of the work pressure
Among other things, they want trainees to be counted as ‘regular faces’ for the children. It should also be possible to deploy students of pedagogical sciences and psychology, possibly after a short additional training, in the reception. And students who are already following a higher professional education course to become a pedagogical employee, can best stand in front of the group a bit earlier in their studies.
According to the authors, such concrete interventions are inevitable. “As administrators in childcare, we experience it every day: there is a major shortage of pedagogical employees. Together we face an important challenge. It is time to sound the alarm and propose solutions,” the letter reads.
Initiator Nicole Krabbenborg is general manager of Kindergarden, which has almost 70 branches in the Netherlands with 2000 employees. “Of course we already had a staff shortage, but we felt too late how dire this shortage would become,” she says. “Due to corona, we expected that the economy would decline and that after the vaccinations, absenteeism among our employees would be less. In practice, we now see that the demand for childcare is increasing enormously, while absenteeism due to illness does not fall quickly; also the workload. Because we ask a lot from these colleagues.”
The childcare staff shortage continues to grow. The number of vacancies per 1000 jobs in childcare is 34, and in the west of our country even 40. By way of comparison: in education, which also suffers from shortages, this figure stands at 21. The waiting lists in childcare are growing. , are sometimes longer than a year and then not only on the traditional days, but also on Wednesdays and Fridays.
The consequences for families, who rely on childcare, are slowly but surely increasing. Parents who thought they finally had a place, now sometimes have to be canceled because the physical place is available, but there are no more employees. Expansions are postponed or cancelled. And groups regularly have to be closed temporarily due to the shortage of employees.
TintelTuin, an organization with branches in the Amsterdam, Zaanstreek and Waterland regions, recently sent a warning letter to parents: “We want to be there for all children and their parents; so for you. Unfortunately, in the current circumstances, that is no longer possible for everyone every day.” This organization also partly attributes the shortages to the corona crisis. And previously, temporary workers were hired to fill in the gaps. ,,However, for a few weeks, the shortage has become such that we can no longer manage it. The employment agencies let us know that they no longer have any extra staff.”
The rack is really out now
According to the sector, ‘the stretch is really gone’, the reception organizations report to, among others, outgoing State Secretary Wiersma (Social Affairs) and chairman Rouvoet of the ‘watchdog’ GGD-GHOR Netherlands. Krabbenborg: “We want to relax the rules quickly, so that we can do the best for parents, children and staff again and at the same time maintain the quality as laid down.”
In addition to the interventions mentioned above, the drivers have even more wishes. For example, they do not want a language requirement for regular day care, which makes it possible to hire foreign workers as well. Furthermore, the group help must be able to be used in addition to the pedagogical employee. It is also easy to see per location how many professionals are needed for a group of children. So customization.
The organizations would like to consult with the cabinet and the supervisory authority through their sector associations about other possible interventions. “As experts in childcare, we believe that these are solutions that we can deploy in the very short term and that will certainly provide relief while maintaining the current quality. We also have concrete ideas for the longer term that we would like to discuss.” The Childcare Branch Organization has announced that it is embracing the initiative.
Staff shortages in childcare are also a concern for the Ministry of Social Affairs. “We have been in talks with the sector for some time about staff shortages and about any restrictive legislation and regulations. It is important to avoid closures of groups or locations, as this can also have consequences for working parents. State Secretary Wiersma will shortly resume talks with the childcare sector and will inform the House of Representatives about the progress as soon as possible,” said a spokesperson.
The childcare staff shortage continues to grow. The number of vacancies per 1000 jobs in childcare is 34, and in the west of our country even 40
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