Childcare benefits for over 1 million children

Young people and families | 04-11-2022 09:11

In 2021, childcare benefits were paid for over 1 million children. The number of children with parents receiving a childcare allowance has been rising since 2015, although growth has levelled off in recent years. Out-of-school care accommodated almost 536 thousand children last year and day care 541 thousand. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new figures.

Parents who meet the conditions and use formal childcare can get part of the costs reimbursed through the childcare allowance. This refers to formal childcare in a childcare centre or by a registered childminder (gastouder). The data comes from the Tax and Customs Administration.

Although the number of 0 to 11-year-old children has declined in recent years, the number of children with childcare allowance has been rising since 2015. In the period 2015-2018, the growth in day care was mainly due to the transformation of preschool facilities into childcare facilities. During this period, the number of 0 to 3-year-olds in day care increased by over 100 thousand. From 2019, growth in the number of children in day care levelled off. 

Less care provided by childminders

The number of children cared for by authorised childminders fell for the fourth consecutive year in 2021. In 2021, over 127 thousand children were cared for by an authorised childminder, over 26 thousand less than in 2017. Relative to the previous year, the number of children cared for by authorised childminders before or after school decreased most notably in 2021. At children’s centres, the number of children in out-of-school care remained virtually the same at almost 500 thousand.

Allowances for over 668 thousand parents

In 2021, over 668 thousand parents received an allowance for altogether 1 million children. This is nearly 6 thousand more parents and 11 thousand more children than in 2020. On average, allowance recipients received 5,230 euros per year. This is 250 euros more than in 2020. The declarable costs of childcare amounted to 7,310 euros on average in 2021.

72 percent of childcare costs are reimbursed

When the childcare allowance was introduced, the premise was that the government, employers and parents would each pay a third of the cost of childcare. In 2021, parents paid on average almost 2,100 euros on an annual basis, which is 28 percent of declarable childcare costs. This was 27 percent in the previous year.

Often various forms of care used

Parents receive childcare allowance only for the use of formal childcare. However, in addition to formal childcare, parents may choose other forms of childcare in order to combine childcare with work, such as care by the partner or the grandparents.

Figures from the Labour Force Survey show that in 2021, 6 percent of households with children aged 12 or younger and working parents reported using formal childcare exclusively. For 16 percent, the care of the children at times when one was working lay solely with the partner. The remaining households used other forms of care or a combination of formal care with other forms. In 16 percent of households, partner care was supplemented by unpaid caregivers as well as formal childcare. Partner care is also relatively often combined with either formal childcare or unpaid caregivers.