Effective from next year the cabinet will dedicate more funds to the improvement of childcare and pre- and after-school facilities in the Caribbean Netherlands. From 2020, 9.8 million Euro’s will be available annually for childcare. With the funds the costs paid by parents for the care can be reduced and there will be more room for the training and retraining of employees in childcare. The ministries of SZW, OCW, VWS and BZK contribute to the strengthening of the care on the islands, in close cooperation with the public entities Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.
Guiding principle of the multiannual programme Bes(t) 4 Kids is that all children in the Caribbean Netherlands, aged between 0 and 12, can rely on childcare. Financial accessibility is an important condition for this. At the moment the care on the islands is, proportionately, expensive. As a consequence a part of the parents cannot pay the costs for day-care or after-school care. In this respect the risk of the number of children with a developmental or educational disadvantage is considerable. By investing in quality, reducing the costs of the care and by making pre-school education a fixed component of childcare, the cabinet wants to stimulate that more children can develop and more parents start working.
State Secretary Tamara van Ark (SZW), responsible for childcare: “All parents in the Caribbean Netherlands must be able to rely on good, safe and accessible care. Together we throw our weight behind it to realise this. This way we work on the future of the islands, we tackle poverty and we provide a better start of our children.”
Apart from better accessibility, there will be quality requirements for the facilities, good supervision on this, and investments are made in training of employees. The cabinet also wants to improve the link between childcare and primary education. Regarding the relatively large number of children with a need for support or care, the cooperation with care organisations is also an important area of attention.
The stimulus that is given to childcare and after-school facilities contributes to the commitment of the cabinet to the improvement of the social security of inhabitants of the Caribbean Netherlands across the board. In the time to come, further substance is given to the Bes(t) 4 Kids programme, in cooperation with the public entities Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.