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As with at-home childcare, childcare in a childcare facility helps parents reconcile work and family life, whilst providing children with an appropriate formative setting and infrastructures that are tailored to their needs.
Various facilities exist, such as crèches, daycare centres, day nurseries, childminders or drop-in centres (maisons relais), all of which offer different childcare models. These different facilities are subject to accreditation by the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth (Ministère de l'Education nationale, de l'Enfance et de la Jeunesse) on the basis of criteria which include professional integrity, staff qualifications and infrastructures.
Who is concerned
The childcare infrastructure is open to any parent, regardless of their nationality.
Some facilities, however, only accept children who live in the local commune or attend the local school.
How to proceed
Different childcare facilities
There are several services that can help parents by providing suitable child care. In most cases, children can be enrolled directly with the establishment. As a rule, childcare is covered by a contract between the childcare facility and the child's parents. Where applicable, and depending on the criteria specific to each childcare facility, priority may be given to children from single-parent families, children from low-income families or children with special needs.
The parental contribution to childcare costs is determined on the basis of several factors (situation, household income and the child's position in the sibling order). Different facilities are available to parents, including:
- state-approved facilities;
- private, non-state approved facilities;
- drop-in centres;
- childminders ("Dageselteren").
Crèches provide professional, non-residential care for children under the age of 4 or children who are not yet in the school system.
Daycare centres provide professional, non-residential childcare and supervision for children attending early learning centres or in pre-school or primary education. They receive children out of school hours and during school holidays.
Day nurseries offer spontaneous, professional, non-residential childcare and supervision for children under 8 years of age. Children are received for no more than 16 hours per week per child.
Drop-in centres provide non-residential socio-educational care for children and young people under 18 years of age. The drop-in centre system is a commune-level service which provides care for children and young people outside of school hours. It is intended for families who live in the commune, or children who go to school in the commune.
The drop-in centre service is not available in all communes. Opening hours and services may vary depending on the commune. However, the aim is to offer a full range of services in all communes between 7am and 7pm, including the following compulsory services:
- the opening hours of the service and the reception of pupils will in principle be offered outside of school hours;
- provision of meals, including lunch and snacks;
- supervision, entertainment and activities;
- support with homework.
Drop-in centres for children can also offer socio-educational support, childcare for sick children, socio-educational activities, parenting courses etc.
With regard to children with special needs who are in basic education, a medical certificate submitted by parents to the drop-in centre manager serves as documentary evidence for use by the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth when allocating any additional hours of supervision that may be required, and in order to meet the child's specific childcare needs.
Note: admission criteria are set by the communal authorities or by the childcare facilities themselves.
For further information on enrolment, parents should contact the communal administration.
Childminding involves the regular provision of paid, day- or night-time childcare at the request of the person or persons exercising parental responsibility. This service is provided by persons working as self-employed workers or as employees under a service agreement. Anyone wishing to offer childminding services must be accredited.
This method of childcare offers greater flexibility in that childcare can be provided at times when other childcare facilities, such as crèches, daycare centres and drop-in centres, are not necessarily open.
Children may not be cared for day and night, on a continuous basis, for more than 3 weeks. Childminders may not care for more than 5 children at a time, discounting their own children.
Childminding consists of the following activities, depending on the age of the child:
- childcare, generally outside school hours, according to a schedule defined by the parties;
- provision of meals, including main meals and snacks in between meals;
- supervision, entertainment and activities of a socio-educational nature;
- help with homework;
- care and supervision in the event of illness;
- supervision during naps and whilst sleeping.
Dageselteren is an agency which provides training, information and guidance services for childminders, parents, and social services institutions. It is registered with the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth. To find out more about the conditions that must be satisfied by childminders and parents to ensure that children are being properly cared for, and to maintain a climate of trust and confidence between the parties, Dageselteren can be contacted via their helpline, every morning from 8am to 12pm on (+352) 26 20 27 94 1. The agency provides information on the various formalities involved in finding a childminder, the criteria that childminders must satisfy to obtain accreditation, the childcare contract, the childcare service vouchers system (Chèque-Service Accueil), settling-in periods, etc.
11, rue du Fort Bourbon
Tel.: (+352) 26 20 27 94 – 1