BES(t) 4 Kids pursues two goals: to strengthen the quality of childcare and after school facilities and to improve financial accessibility for parents. The program aims to have two important schemes in operation at the beginning of 2020: a new island ordinance with quality criteria for childcare organizations and a subsidy scheme to reduce the costs for parents.
Together with the Public Entities Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, the government has drawn up a draft island ordinance for childcare. The Executive Council of St Eustatius adopted the ordinance on December 3, 2019. The Executive Councils of Bonaire and Saba have presented their draft island ordinance to the Island Councils this month. It is the Island Council’s authority to assess and adopt a draft island ordinance. Only after this approval the childcare ordinance can become effective.
From that moment on, childcare organizations on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba must have an operating license to offer their services. The draft island ordinance contains all the quality criteria that organizations must meet in order to obtain and retain this permit. Consider, for example, the maximum number of children per group, the pedagogical quality, the level of education of the professionals and the safety of spaces.
New childcare organizations must immediately meet the quality criteria. Existing organizations are given a reasonable amount of time to meet the quality requirements. Hereby they receive help from the BES (t) 4 kids program. For example when drawing up a pedagogical policy plan or with training programs to make sure the staff can meet the new education criteria.
The BES(t) 4 Kids program will also prepare a subsidy scheme for 2020. With the subsidy, the organizations can cover any extra costs for improving quality and, if possible, reduce the parental contribution. The subsidy scheme will be announced at the beginning of 2020. Then it is also clear which organizations are eligible for subsidy, and under which conditions.
Finally all the regulations and actions of BES(t) 4 Kids must result in a safe and caring childcare environment that is accessible to all parents in the Caribbean Netherlands.