Daycare centres face falling numbers and more bad debts

An increasing number of daycare centres for pre-school children are going bankrupt because of the economic crisis and 52 have already closed their doors for good this year, the AD reports on Friday.

By contrast, just seven daycare centres went bust in the first nine months of 2011, the AD says, quoting chamber of commerce figures.
Parents are now beginning to realise they have to pay more for childcare because of spending cuts, said Gjalt Jellesma, chairman of Boink, which represents the parents of crèche-going children. This is why parents are looking for cheaper alternatives such as playgroups or are asking their neighbours and grandparents to step in.
Demand for daycare places has dropped 15% over the past six months. The caretaker government is planning further cuts in childcare spending next year.
Extra cash
Meanwhile, the Volkskrant reports parents are increasingly using childcare subsidies to shore up gaps in their own finances.
Daycare centres are also having to deal with an increase in bad debts as parents refuse to pay their bills. Debts of €12,000 are not uncommon, the paper says. One crèche company, with some 100 branches, estimates the percentage of parents who do not pay their bills has risen from 3% to up to 10% in two years.
Working low-income parents can claim up to €1,300 a month towards the cost of crèche fees – around 90% of the total cost. Although the subsidy can be paid directly to the daycare centre itself, most parents do not make use of that option, the paper says.
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