Development of teleworking, rural exodus of families … the early childhood has not escaped the upheavals linked to the Covid pandemic.
How do you support private nurseries in this context of generalized closure?
The establishments that have remained open, and which welcome families free of charge, operate with a tonnage of ten children per section, which is half as much as usual. In this case, CAF decreases its aid and consequently, the budget balance suffers.
So, we support these structures which are still open in putting together files to obtain additional public funding in order to consolidate their finances, because these subsidies are not automatically allocated. For nurseries backed by large groups, or practices like ours, it’s easier. But for small structures, it’s much more complicated, especially since some of them will have to repay part of the advances of CAF aid, due to the drop in attendance at their establishments in 2020.
The closure of nurseries announced by the government from April 6 to 23, the third since the start of the health crisis, has further strained the cash flow of these companies. To keep them afloat, the National Family Allowance Fund (CNAF) has announced the return of financial assistance of 17 euros per day and per place to private nurseries. Measures that could prove to be too timid, according to several school directors, whose testimony was collected on the Echos website: Private nurseries are worried about parents’ new childcare habits
How did the Covid pandemic affect the need for nursery places?
To date, nurseries, regardless of the mode of management, have observed a drop in their activity of 10, or even 20% if they have a partnership with companies. This is also noticeable on the hourly amplitude: a child previously occupied, on average, 8:30 a.m. per day, whereas with telework (and parents who drop off their child later, and pick it up earlier), we are rather at 7 o’clock. And as the financing of a crèche depends on the hour billed to the family, this decrease has repercussions on CAF subsidies. This represents around 1,000 euros of loss per child, per year.
In company nurseries, we have seen parents deregister children because of teleworking and prefer nurseries close to their home. We also observed a demand that is starting to slide from urban areas to peri-urban and rural. Finally, we feel the effects of partial unemployment, with parents who find themselves unemployed, and who unsubscribe children from nurseries or reduce the reception time to save money.
What are the obstacles to opening day nurseries? And how can the shortage of places be remedied?
On average, to open a cradle, it is necessary to count 25,000 euros of investment and 16,000 euros to make it work. To support the development of the supply of places, it is necessary at all costs to simplify the methods of financing and the regulations, because this framework, although essential to the quality and the security of the reception, drives up the costs. , especially since the fragile budget balance of structures forces them to optimize their management and sometimes puts stress on early childhood professionals. A sector which is also experiencing a shortage of graduates.
Today, we know that nurseries encourage parents to return to work. It will go through public investment in order to maintain and develop this service to the population because the return to employment of young workers (on site or teleworking) in good conditions requires obtaining a place in a crèche for their young children.
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