The federal government will support the federal states in the next two years with a further four billion euros for more staff and quality in their daycare centers. The cabinet in Berlin passed a »Kita Quality Act«.
The Bundestag and Bundesrat still have to agree. It ties in with the so-called Good Kita Act, which expires at the end of the year. The federal government had made almost 5.5 billion euros available since 2019. The federal states were able to invest the money in certain areas, such as additional staff, longer opening hours, further training, language support for children, newly designed rooms and play areas and also in reducing daycare fees.+
The foundation for education starts in daycare
According to the ministry, the new law now provides for federal funds to be invested primarily in the areas of skilled worker-child key, in recruiting and securing qualified specialists and language training. New contribution reductions should no longer be financed by this. In the past, experts had criticized the reduction in daycare fees for high earners in some federal states and called for the money to be invested elsewhere.
According to the law, day-care center fees must also be staggered nationwide according to mandatory criteria, such as the income of the parents.
The foundation for education and healthy development is laid in the daycare center, said Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens). »This law helps ensure that all children, no matter where they live in Germany and no matter what their parents’ income, have a chance at early childhood education.«
At the end of the year, countries submit a report on implementation
In practice, the “Kita Quality Act” is similar to the “Gute-Kita-Gesetz” and other laws in which money comes from the federal government: Berlin does not simply transfer billions, but the states are allowed to use the joint revenue from sales tax keep a larger portion than usual. The federal government gets less for it. With the Gute-Kita-Gesetz, it was initially 493 million euros at the start of 2019, then 993 million euros in 2020 and finally 1.993 billion euros in 2021 and this year for the federal states.
Exactly as much – 1.993 billion – are now also planned for 2023 and 2024. So that this money is then also spent on daycare centers, the federal government concludes a contract with each individual state that defines the measures in which investments are made. The federal states must then also report on the implementation.
Although the federal states, educational and social organizations welcome the continuation of federal funding, they continue to criticize the fact that another federal program for day-care center quality will expire at the end of the year: the funding of »language day-care centers«. Since 2016, the federal government has been financing additional staff at daycare centers for language development, especially at facilities with many children with language needs.
Association criticizes the financing of the “language day-care centers”
Around 6,800 of the approximately 58,000 day-care centers nationwide are »language day-care centers«. The federal government gave about 200 million euros a year for this. Most recently, the program was even increased again because of Corona, so that around 248 million were available this year.
On Wednesday, Paus referred to the responsibility of the federal states for daycare centers. “I expressly call for the language day-care centers to continue to be funded, which is precisely what this law allows,” she said, referring to the four billion euros that the federal government will provide over the next two years. In the “Kita Quality Act”, language support is also expressly declared as one of the priority tasks for which the money should be used. The extent to which this takes place will depend on what the federal and state governments write in the individual contracts for implementation.
The Education and Training Association (VBE) criticized the fact that funds from the funding program could also be used for additional staff for language training, could not compensate for what the discontinuation of the federal program “Language Daycare Centers” for affected facilities and the staff provided for it mean. “Rather, different interests are played off against each other here instead of keeping promises from the coalition agreement.” There, the traffic light parties had stated that the “Language Daycare Centers” program should be further developed and consolidated.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220824-99-501857/3