Childcare St Eustatius
The Public Entity of Sint Eustatius (OLE), in collaboration with the public entities of Bonaire and Saba, has drawn up a draft island ordinance for childcare. The Executive Council of St. Eustatius has presented the draft Island Ordinance Childcare to the Island Council. The draft island ordinance has been approved by the Island Council, it came into effect on January 1 of 2020.
The island ordinance came into force in January 2020. From that moment on all children’s centers must have an operating license to provide childcare. In order to obtain and maintain this license one should meet several quality requirements, such as a pedagogical policy plan, a minimum level of education, a maximum number of professionals per master group.
All childcare centers must have a license. For those organizations that existed before December 2017, there was a transition period to ensure that all new requirements could be met. An application for a license has to be submitted to the OLE.
The application contains at least:
- Copy of business license
- In case of a sole proprietorship: name, address, telephone number, proof of registration with the Chamber of Commerce, not older than three months
- In case of a legal entity: names, addresses, dates of birth of board members, copy of articles of incorporation, proof of registration with the Chamber of Commerce, not older than three months and, if applicable, a copy of the register of shares
- Proof of registration in the population register of the applicant and the employees, and a copy of the residence permit
- A Certificate of Good Conduct (Verklaring omtrent gedrag, VOG), not older than two months, of the applicant and professionals
- Maximum number of children and age groups per part of the day
- Maximum number of professionals per part of the day
- Opening and closing hours
- The (proposed) address
- Pedagogical policy plan of children’s center
- Domestic violence step-by-step plan of children’s center
- Safety and healthcare policy of children’s center
- A floor plan
- Proof of payment of fees
After the application has been submitted, the OLE requests advice from the quality committee investigating the application. The OLE has 6 to 8 weeks to respond to the request. If more time is needed to assess the application, the OLE will inform the applicant.
Daycare and out-of-school care organizations in St. Eustatius can qualify for a cost-price reducing subsidy. A childcare organization can use the subsidy to reduce the parental contribution for parents and to take measures to improve the quality of childcare.
Childcare organizations can submit a subsidy application to Implementation and Policy (in Dutch: Uitvoering van Beleid (UVB)). They are supported in this process by the front office (and UVB) which has been established at the Public Entity St. Eustatius for this purpose.
Amount of cost-price reducing subsidy (per January 1st 2023)
The cost-price reducing subsidy in St. Eustatius for daycare is a maximum of $ 259,- per child per month and for out-of-school care it is a maximum of $ 328,- per child per month.
Amount of parental contribution (per January 1st 2023)
The amount of the parental contribution in St. Eustatius is a minimum of $ 75,- per child per month for daycare and $ 40,- per child per month for out-of-school care.
Parents who cannot afford the parental contribution, can apply for a supplementary childcare subsidy at the Public Entity St. Eustatius. Some childcare organizations which already have a subsidy relationship with the Public Entity St. Eustatius can charge a lower parental contribution with the consent of the Public Entity St. Eustatius.
Supervising the quality of daycare and after-school care is the task of the Inspectorate of Education. The inspectorate can have parts of the supervision carried out by a local inspectors. Two inspectors are active on St. Eustatius. They visit the childcare organizations. They have the authority to drop by unannounced, but usually they indicate when they are coming because they need information from management.
A report is drawn up and an advice is given to the childcare organization. The advice describes which points deserve attention and in which period. The childcare organizations are visited again to see whether the improvements have been implemented. If these are not implemented, a negative advice will follow to the quality committee. A negative advice can lead to a (temporary) closure.
Ideally, the management of childcare centers functions at HBO level. There is a biweekly meeting with all the Directors (Platform B4Kids) to share information and to give informative workshops.
The pedagogical employees must have at least a level 2 CVQ (Caribbean Vocational Qualification) training. Since February 2019, a start was made on a recognized level 2 CVQ training course for ECD (Early Childhood Development). The training is given by GVP school and attended by students from high school and persons working in childcare who do not yet have a qualification. The internship takes place at Buzzy Bees Daycare Center, the official learning institute for this training.
In February 2020 a training course for youth leaders has started. This is a level 2 CVQ training and is organized by GVP.
It is the planning to start in 2022 with a level 3 training SPW.
The OLE believes it is important that all childcare organizations work with the same pedagogical method; the High Scope Curriculum. Two people received training in Michigan and they train the staff of the childcare organizations. A next person started the training High Scope on Saba and a trainer from High Scope Michigan will give a training to the childcare workers. This will be completed in 2022.
At the end of 2019, one person from each organization took part in the Conscious Discipline training. This program focuses on consciously positive parenting, both by parents and by childcare and schools. The intention is that this program is implemented and that parents are involved.
Good terms of employment are important in improving the quality of childcare. With good terms of employment throughout the sector, working in childcare becomes more attractive and childcare organisations are able to attract AND retain qualified employees.
Therefore, the BES(t) 4 kids programme wants to help childcare organisations and employees to structurally improve the terms of employment in childcare. The goal is to come to a collective labour conditions agreement: the CLA Childcare CN. In this agreement, issues such as minimum wages, holidays and pension can be arranged collectively. This considerably increases the attractiveness of the childcare sector.
However, a CLA for Childcare CN is not arranged overnight. Reaching a collective labour agreement for the entire sector in the Caribbean Netherlands is complicated, involving many organisations. First all wishes and needs of employers and employees on the three islands will be identified. Also, many discussions between employers and employees are necessary to agree on a first CLA. BES(t) 4 kids facilitates and stimulates this process.
The housing of childcare organizations has to meet quality requirements. The OLE supports out-of-school care to realize an accommodation that meets the requirements of the island ordinance. Given the poor condition of the buildings, work is being done on a plan for common housing for out-of-school care.
There is a plan for a new building for 3 organizations for Out of School Activities. Construction will start in 2022. The organizations MYF, DOTK and A+ will make use of this. In addition to separate spaces for each organization, there are also common areas: an area for creative development, a theater and a media studio. In addition, there is ample opportunity for outdoor activities.
Buzzy Bees Daycare Center is working hard on the required improvements. Expansion of the baby room took place and more babies can be taken care of in a responsible way.