Childcare fully booked during summer

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Parents are having problems placing their children in child care facilities as they go to work during the summer holidays.

10 June 2008

BELGIUM - Facilities for childcare during the holidays are having trouble finding enough personnel.

According to the daily Het Nieuwsblad most of the facilities have been fully booked since Easter.

The demand for child care, especially for young children between 2 1/2 and 4 years old, is growing. This age group is difficult because the children are too old for the nurseries yet too young to be able to join many play groups.

The play groups for children between 2 1/2 and 4 are insufficient to meet the demand.

Parents will have to opt for alternative ways such as sport camps, play groups, or days with the grandparents to make sure their children have a place to go during the summer holidays when they have to go to work.

Childcare is reportedly especially a problem outside the bigger cities. Although demand is smaller, supply of childcare services can be even smaller.

According to experts, the problem is a shortage of personnel. To help alleviate the problem, the Flemish government is allowing education students to take up jobs in day care facilities during the summer.

Flemish Welfare Minister Steven Vanackere who is also responsible for family policy has reportedly earmarked EUR 810,000 for extra personnel.

Experts are also insisting that summer jobs undertaken by students provides a temporary solution and does not contribute to a structural solution to the problem.

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