A daycare in Israel.
(photo credit: Zoog Productions)
Registration for subsidized daycare centers for children ages 0-3 for the upcoming academic year will begin next month, the Labor and Social Services Ministry announced on Wednesday.
In past years, parents had to wait until April or May to register their youngsters, leaving many uncertain as to whether they would be accepted into a framework until July and sometimes even August.
As such, many parents were paid nonrefundable deposits, sometimes totaling up to NIS 4,000, to secure a spot in a private daycare center in the event their child did not receive a place in subsidized daycare.
Additionally, parents who did secure spots in subsidized daycare systems could only request additional financial assistance after the start of the school year.
The reform will see registration begin February 4-22, at a cost of NIS 133.
“Our goal is that in May at the latest parents will be able to know if their children have a place in daycare centers, and will be able to request subsidies already before the start of the academic year,” Labor and Social Services Minister Haim Katz said on Wednesday.
“This is how we give parents certainty regarding the framework where their children will be, and time to organize and receive a subsidy already in September and not after,” he said.
Some 120,000 children up to the age of three, accounting for roughly a fourth of this cohort, attend state-supervised and -subsidized daycare centers.
For the thousands of parents whose children are accepted into the sought after daycare centers, the state provides yearly subsidies totaling some NIS 1 billion.
Those children who are not accepted into subsidized daycares are placed in family care or in private daycare centers, which are not subsidized and not supervised by the state.
In 2012, following recommendations by the Trajtenberg Committee on Socioeconomic Change to establish additional daycare centers, the government approved a budget of some NIS 1.2b. toward implementation, of which nearly half was transferred to local authorities. Despite this move, only a handful of new centers were built.
According to the Labor and Social Services Ministry, in the coming year some 100 new subsidized daycare centers are expected to open, enrolling some 7,500 children up to the age of three.
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