“Children are not as welcome here as in Berlin”

Potsdam.How child-friendly is Brandenburg? The family compass, in which all Brandenburgers can participate, examines this question. Danilo Fischbach is a spokesman for the State Day Care Council. He would like the administration to take the families’ perspective more often.

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What has been the biggest success for the State Day Care Parents’ Council so far?

Danilo Fischbach: There are actually three major successes. On the one hand, that we exist at all and that we have the right to participate. Then the introduction of the compulsory last year of day care and the promotion of longer care periods.

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“Children are seen as a cost factor”

Nevertheless, you recently told MAZ that Brandenburg is only moderately family-friendly. Why?

There is no welcoming culture for children. They are often not seen as an asset, but as a cost factor. A few years ago, it would have been unthinkable for us to one day have campsites, hotels or restaurants where children are not welcome. Imagine if we had senior-free campsites – it would cause a huge outcry! Playgrounds are also an issue. They are usually planned without a public toilet. In the case of children, it is of course assumed that they can do without their feces.

Is there a social change behind it?

It’s probably because our society is getting older, the elderly are making choices, and we are being governed by the elderly. Our generation is concerned with the compatibility between family and work, often both parents have to work. After work, there is some time to get involved politically. It’s even harder for women. I think the group of young parents is simply under-represented in parliaments.

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Cancellation of day care reform in Brandenburg: “We are extremely disappointed”

Education Minister Britta Ernst (SPD) canceled the day care reform because the districts currently do not want to join. How disappointed are you?

We are extremely disappointed. Before each district election, the candidates promise us a family-friendly policy – and in this important political matter, the constituencies are suddenly unable to act.

Sign up for Family Compass 2022

The Family Compass is a nationwide study on child and family friendliness in Brandenburg. It is a joint project of Märkische Allgemeine, Lausitzer Rundschau and Märkische Oderzeitung.

The survey is anonymous and takes place exclusively on the Internet. You can find the questionnaire below www.maz-online.de/familien. Anyone over the age of 18 can participate. The survey runs until early July. The data is collected anonymously. We will then present the results this fall in MAZ.

With each questionnaire you answer, you are helping to improve the family and child friendliness of your residence. After the evaluation, we enter into dialogue with politicians and report in detail – also to point out possible deficits.

Among all participants we are giving away a Baltic family holiday worth up to € 1,300 and many other great prizes.

Do you think the argument that accommodation for refugees and the corona pandemic is too great a challenge for the districts is a misconception?

Yes, I think that’s just a lie. It is about a lot of money, it is about the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Interior having to agree on financing with the municipalities. And they fail it. The country also fails as a legal oversight. We have been pointing out offenses for years, but they continue to do so.

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Governments must also abide by the law

What do you mean?

The day care workers have to provide breakfast and snacks, but some municipalities do not implement this. And the municipal and state municipal oversight does not intervene. I ask myself as a citizen: If we are to obey the law, why do not the administrations do the same? We are not a monarchy.

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What would actually improve as a result of the Kita reform?

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It would be important for us parents that we finally create a transparent financing of the day care services. It must be stated who is to pay what share and in what positions the parents are involved. It will also be important for the parents that daycare contributions are calculated correctly and violations are punished. Unfortunately, we have a case law from the Supreme Administrative Court that basically says that parents must also accept incorrectly calculated contributions. To me, such judgments are anti-family.

What makes a good day care center, Mr. Fischbach?

Day care efforts primarily complain about unreasonable parental contributions, which vary widely. What are the worst cases?

Day care contributions can vary by several hundred euros from municipality to municipality. But the biggest injustice can actually be seen when living in the commuter belt and a few kilometers away in Berlin, day care is free, including lunch. It shows me that children are not as welcome in Brandenburg as they are in Berlin.

What makes a good daycare?

For a good day care institution, it is important that the staff is not only on paper. There is no clearly defined teacher-child relationship in Brandenburg, although this is repeatedly asserted. When the state says that the care key has been improved, it does not mean that it is precisely defined how many employees should be in the facility at what point in time. But we demand it. If educators are ill or undergoing further training, they must be a pedagogical replacement.

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Brandenburg lacks practice-integrated education to become an educator

Is the country doing enough to strengthen the pedagogical profession and education?

In Brandenburg, we still do not have practice-integrated training to become an educator, as is standard in other countries. This is an apprenticeship where tuition is paid out. In some cases, future educators still have to pay tuition fees.

What does a family-friendly community do? What should they do better?

They should put themselves in the place of the parents and act with more empathy. Childcare is more than making premises available, it is about the right to pre-school education. And they should take a child’s perspective more often and ask themselves what children need to feel good about themselves. Then a lot would have been gained.

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