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Too often foreign parents get confused about what a Tagesmütter/Tagesväter is and the payment system involved in compensating them, so we have The Expert Expat Assistant, Elisa Stella, back again to help us get off on the right foot.
It might seem pedantic, but these facts affect the quality of daycare, the reimbursement of costs, the insurance coverage, and other bureaucratic issues: German regulations fix everything.
So here’s some basic knowledge to get you started:
What is a Tagesmutter/Tagesväter?
A childminder/Tagesmutter/Tagesväter is usually one who works in his/her home, or who rents suitable venues for childcare. Depending on his/her qualification and the available venues, each Tagesmutter/Tagesväter can assist up to 5 children.
We’re just going to call them ‘childminder’s’ for the rest of the post to avoid confusion.
In Düsseldorf, these childminders are quite a common solution for the daycare of children below 3 years of age (U3 Betreuung). Childminders have official permission (Pflegeerlaubnis) from the Jugendamt der Stadt Düsseldorf, which certifies their qualification and the suitability of the venues.
Why do I say “for children below the age of 3”? Well, because once a child reaches 3 years of age in Düsseldorf, they are allowed to attend Kindergarten which is fully covered by the state. Before the age of 3, parents are required to pay a monthly fee.
What to know before you hire a childminder
In addition, the Jugendamt fixes the rules about the number of children and the age of children a childminder can take care of. If the childminder is allowed to assist 5 children, then 1 child can be below the age of 1, 2 children can be between the ages of 1 and 2, and 2 children can be above the age of 2.
Parents bringing their children to a childminder acknowledged by the Jugendamt can benefit financially and can be sure of insurance coverage.
A childminder-daycare might feel homely and warm-hearted because of the personal relationship with him/her, but parents should also be aware that this is a job and that childminders also go on holiday (whenever they want) for about 6 weeks in the year. Childminders do not require a substitute when they are sick, so you will need to find alternative solutions while they are away or sick.
On the other side, one of the advantages of hiring a childminder is that they are more likely to have free spots during the year, which is extremely difficult for a Kindergarten to have. The Kindergarten waiting lists close at the end of January and spots are assigned between February and April, however, the spot is only available starting from 1. August.
What is Großtagespflege?
When two or three childminders work together, they can assist up to 9 children and it’s called “Großtagespflege”. The Großtagespflege is a comfortable mix between a daycare at home and a classic kindergarten structure. Also, in this case, the number of children in a group will rely on the age structure provided by the Jugendamt. Parents will benefit from the same deduction on income taxes. The probability that a Großtagespflege suddenly shuts down due to illness or holiday is lower than it might be of an independent childminder.
What is a Kinderfrau?
A Kinderfrau is the childminder (or babysitter) who works at the parents’ home and looks after one or more children. He/she does not need an “official permission” (Pflegeerlaubnis) from the Jugendamt der Stadt Düsseldorf, unless…
- The parents want to benefit from the income deduction and receive other support from institutions or,
- If the Kinderfrau works more than 15 hours/week and longer than three months
The most annoying thing for parents is that they officially become employers, which implies registering as a “Betrieb” and getting a so-called “Betreibsnummer” and covering the costs of social insurances (pension, invalidity, health insurance, incident & unemployment insurance) for the employee/Kinderfrau.
To avoid these costs (if parents just need a shorter daycare), babysitting less than 15 hours/week, and with a salary lower than 450 Euro/month (for instance, you can hire someone as “Minijobberin”/”Mini Job Worker”). This means they have to register the contract with the Minijobzentrale. In this way, parents pay less money for social contribution and can deduct the costs from their income.
How to find a daycare for your children in Düsseldorf?
Do not go to Jugendamt! Do not go to i-Punkt Familie! (that’s for Kindergarten). There are 4 so-called “Träger” to which the Stadt Düsseldorf outsources their services to. Their address and contacts are here:
They manage the lists of officially approved Tagesmütter, Großtagespflege, and Kinderfrauen. They will hand out a form to fill in with your data and your needs, make a query in their database (and also in those of other “Träger”) and communicate to you the matching solutions for your child. The main criteria include the district, hours of daycare, and age of children, then it’s up to you to arrange a visit with the proposed solutions and see if they suit you/your child.
There are many other details related to this topic, all following links are in German:
If you need a customized consultancy about more precise information about costs, selection process, contracts, familiarization period with a childminder, etc., do not hesitate to contact Elisa.
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