In 2006, 490 thousand children, i.e. one in five, in the age category under 13 attended facilities like childcare, after-school care or care provided by registered host parents. For 410 thousand children, more than 45 percent of the costs involved were refunded by the Dutch government in the form of an extra childcare allowance.
Mainly young children in childcare
Most children in formal childcare were of pre-school age. Approximately 300 thousand children were under the age of 4. They were looked after by day care centres or host parents and after the age of 4 they went to host parents or after-school care.
Grandma and granddad frequent babysitters
Informal kinds of childcare, such as babysitting grandparents, were used twice as much as formal childcare facilities, but informal childcare can be supplementary to formal childcare services. Slightly over half of 0 to 3-year-olds regularly made use of informal childcare provisions. In the age category 10-12, comprising nearly 600 thousand children, one quarter were regularly looked after by neighbours or grandparents. Only 5 percent made use of outside school hours care or host parents care.
Government makes substantial contribution to childcare
Parents may qualify for a government allowance to cover the costs of formal childcare services. Nearly 410 thousand children qualified for a childcare allowance, which means that eight in every ten children who make use of formal childcare provisions are partly compensated by the government. In 2006, the Dutch government contributed more than 845 million euro to the total costs of formal childcare amounting to 1.8 billion euro. The allowance depends on income and on whether the employer makes a contribution.
Number of children in childcare with and without childcare allowance, 2006
Bart Huynen and Hans Kasperski