Looming crisis with Dutch childcare centres
Almost twice as many childcare centres in the Netherlands have gone bankrupt in the first six months of this year as compared to the whole of last year.
In 2012, 49 centres declared bankruptcy, while so far this year 85 centres have already been forced to shut their doors.
These numbers are only a fraction of the total number of childcare centres that have closed for various reasons. According to the Chamber of Commerce, 512 have closed so far this year, compared to 737 over the whole of 2012.
Fewer children in day care
Industry association Brancheorganisatie Kinderopvang says that this is due to the decrease in the number of children going to day care centres, as well as a reduction in the number of days children are going per week.
A survey among members of the association showed that in the second quarter of this year, 40.000 fewer children attended day care.
Financial difficulties for parents
While the costs of childcare have been rising, the reasons for the decrease in numbers and the subsequent closures stem more directly from the financial crisis, according to the association.
"On the one hand there have been cuts to the childcare allowance, on the other hand many parents have lost their jobs.
Parents can keep the allowance for three months, but after that it stops," said a spokeswoman.
The association has called on the government to intervene, saying that both the childcare sector and its infrastructure are breaking down at a rapid rate.
"As soon as the economy rebounds and more parents need to use childcare again, there will be huge waiting lists. As a society we want to encourage parents to work [and] we will soon have an enormous problem."
Source: De Telegraaf