Too little for poor children (

Forest kindergarten in Hesse

Photo: dpa / Frank Rumpenhorst

The situation in the German day care institutions is extremely tense. Not only are employees’ working conditions poor and their workload high, but the equipment is also in some cases inadequate. This is the result of the day care report from the Paritätischer Gesamtverband, which will be published on Monday. This makes it more difficult for educational professionals to meet the needs of children, as this nationwide study shows. Therefore, there is great dissatisfaction among the day care workers.

According to the study, the persistently high shortage of skilled labor in every other day care institution prevents the capacity from being fully utilized. 60 percent of those who participated in the survey assume that they cannot meet the needs of the children with the current labor force relationship.

A study commissioned by the German Kita Management Congress came to a similar conclusion in April. As a result, staff shortages have worsened in recent years. In many facilities, there are sometimes so few employees on site that the scientifically recommended requirements for supervision are not met.

The Paritätische study also showed that day care institutions in vulnerable social areas in particular are affected by a too low staff share. It is fatal: because the higher the socio-spatial disadvantage, the greater the number of children in need of support, for example with language training. How disadvantaged a social area is assessed in the study depends on how many people in the vicinity of the day care institution receive social benefits and whether many have only a low formal education.

The shortage of staff in day care institutions is becoming a growing problem. More and more children go to day care or day care, as shown by figures published by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs last Thursday. In total, more than 48,000 more children went to day care in 2021 than the year before.

Despite this, the need for childcare of all ages continues to outweigh the supply, according to the ministry. Also, because much greater demand is expected this year, it is drastic that so many day care institutions are already far from the recommended staffing level. According to the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, the hospitalization of persons seeking protection from Ukraine will require even more children to be cared for.

Family Minister Lisa Paus (The Greens) has now announced further efforts with the federal states and municipalities to attract more specialists to care facilities. In addition, the quality of childcare needs to be further improved. “When children receive high-quality support and care, we create more equal opportunities for children, improve the compatibility between family and work and encourage women to work,” Paus emphasized.

In almost half of the nationwide day care institutions, 20 percent or more of the children speak a language other than German at home. However, according to the study by the Paritätisches, the resulting need for support can not already be met for the most part. “The skilled workers on site accomplish enormous things every day under really difficult conditions in many places. Especially where many children grow up in poverty or are dependent on special support, the day care institutions also complain about poorer equipment, “says Ulrich Schneider, general manager of the association. The greater the socio-spatial disadvantage, the more dissatisfied the study participants are with the decor. “There is an urgent need for targeted and better support here,” Schneider demands.

It is also noteworthy that there are almost twice as many large day care institutions in areas with high socio-spatial disadvantages than in less vulnerable areas. But the study revealed even more structural deficits – for example in day care funding. New and replacement purchases are not a matter of course in many places.

More than a third of those who participated in the study also said that the funds provided were not sufficient to provide the children with a balanced diet. “It is an accusation when we in this rich country do not succeed in giving every child a healthy meal, the best possible support for their individual development and a childhood that is as carefree as possible,” Schneider states.

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