Last update: 15 September 2022
Currently, many sectors in the Netherlands are suffering from staff shortages. In childcare, that problem is especially felt across the country due to strict legislation, insufficient intake from training courses, competition from primary education and high absenteeism due to corona.
We are doing everything we can to recruit new colleagues. We start two BBL classes a year, training another 40 new colleagues. We run campaigns, and offer application bonuses. Unfortunately, this is not enough to fill all vacancies. There is a national shortage of pedagogical staff. Therefore, we are going to balance the number of child places with the number of pedagogical staff members we have. In other words, we will take care of as many children as possible with the available staff. These will be fewer children than we were able to accommodate before.
We temporarily do not fill the places that become vacant in the group, when, for example, children leave. This creates space to divide up the groups more intelligently. Currently, for instance, we choose a standard horizontal grouping based on the age of the children. At some locations, however, a more vertical grouping (where children of different ages are together in the group) allows us to accommodate the same number - or sometimes even more - of children with fewer pedagogical staff members.
We now have two groups everywhere, from about 0-2 and from about 2-4 years old children. We look at what the optimal group composition is at each location. The possibilities vary per location. It depends on the building, how big the groups are, the number of beds and how many groups there are now. Sometimes it helps to accommodate half or whole groups less or to move on in another way, which enables us to occupy the number of places as well as possible.
Currently, we usually work with three age groups: a youngest, middle and an oldest group. In the new situation, we will more often choose only a youngest and an oldest group. We will do this in order to prevent fewer transfer moments, and therefore will be able to make more children happy with a place at the out-of-school care facility.
The municipalities of Hilversum and Soest determine the conditions the playgroups must meet. We receive subsidies on this basis. At the moment, there is no question of changing the grouping.
This varies per location. At some locations, the age distribution of the group your child is placed in will change: a 0-2 group will become a 0-3 group, for instance. It is also possible that we propose to change groups, in some situations change childcare days or move your child to the next group at a later date. We understand that this could be experienced as unpleasant, and we will therefore deal carefully with requests for any changes in care. However, all the steps we will take are necessary to avoid as much as possible having to cancel contracts with parents.
We are doing everything we can to avoid this as much as possible, this being an extreme emergency measure. Unfortunately, we cannot promise now that we won't have to cancel contracts with parents at all.
We are not allowed to do this just like that. The number of children per pedagogical staff member is laid down in the Childcare Act.
We understand that this is an unpleasant situation for you. Perhaps you have family members who can help you (temporarily) with childcare. Talk to your employer. We will do everything we can to help you find childcare. We actively lobby at local and national level, for example. In addition to chairing the board of directors at Bink, Monique Wittebol is also vice chair of the Branchevereniging Maatschappelijke Kinderopvang (BMK). In that role, she is in consultation with the government in The Hague, trying to ensure that unnecessary rules that currently hinder the continuity of care will be removed. In the short term, we will ask the municipality whether it would be possible to be accommodating with certain rules. We also will ask our education partners to examine together whether, by working together more intensively and creating combination jobs, whether we can reduce the impact of staff shortages. In the meantime, we keep trying to find creative solutions to recruit and retain pedagogical staff members.
As soon as we know what the new grouping of a location is going to look like, we will submit this to the parents' committee for advice.