Economy Minister Naftali Bennett instructed the Department for Day Care Centers of the Economy Ministry to prioritize building new facilities in order to encourage the integration of women and families into the labor market.
“We give the utmost importance to maintaining the safety and security of children, along with encouraging women to work, to integrate into the workforce, with the help and support of the ministry. This is a quality system, for which the demand to join increases every year, and we are working to expand it in the best possible way in the near future,” he said.
The Economy Ministry said registration for state recognized day care centers and nurseries for the upcoming school year opened Sunday and will continue until May 30, at a registration fee of up to NIS 133.
During the current school year, around 110,000 toddlers from birth to three-year-old children are enrolled in state supervised day care centers, most of whom are children to working mothers. In addition, 18,000 caregivers and 1,400 day care managers are employed in 1,650 state supervised day care centers and 3,700 nurseries.
To date, the Economy Ministry has allocated a budget of NIS 1.2 billion for day care centers and nurseries. Some NIS 800m. was allocated towards assistance with tuition, provided to eligible mothers based on socioeconomic criteria, such as per capita income and familial status, and designed to give preference and incentives to the integration of additional women in the labor market.
Furthermore, the ministry allocated NIS 600m. to local authorities to construct new centers for the absorption of 60,000 additional children.
In addition to operating day care centers, the ministry also regulates after-school programs in which 35,000 children are enrolled in 1,900 afternoon care centers.
In the coming academic year, the Economy Ministry will subsidize a portion of the tuition towards recognized afternoon programs in municipalities categorized as categories four to seven for the entire population and categories four to 10 for single parents, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics – which ranks municipalities across the country according to their socioeconomic status and sets them into clusters on a scale from one to 10.
The subsidies will be given to working mothers or to students studying in Hebrew-intensive programs or in professional training programs in accordance with criteria set forth by the ministry.