A number of Brussels daycare centres are going to campaign together to demand structural changes for quality childcare. They hope that other crèches, from Brussels and Flanders, will also join the action, according to a press release on Friday. They demand, among other things, a better framework and opportunities for professionalisation for employees from childcare.
This sector has been in the news several times in recent weeks. For example, there was the drama in the daycare centre ‘t Sloeberhuisje in Mariakerke, where a baby died as a result of suspected abuse.
Such a case was reported in the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws on Friday about the conviction of a manager. She was convicted on appeal as a natural person on 20 January 2021, but acquitted as a legal person. Kind en Gezin then started an enforcement process. For example, the lady was allowed to organise childcare, but not have direct contact with children. “Another responsible person was appointed, who had to prove that those conditions were complied with,” said the spokeswoman for Kind en Gezin.
But in the week of February 21, 2022, a complaint was received about the crèche in Schoten, “anonymous but serious”, according to Nele Wouters. That complaint showed that the organiser violated the conditions imposed on it and that the parents had not been informed either. “It was then decided on February 28 to suspend the reception as a precaution and in case of urgent necessity, for a period of two months”.
Some crèches, including vzw Elmer from Schaerbeek and vzw de Ketjes from Brussels, now want a ‘Marshall plan’ for the sector, reads a pamphlet on Friday, with structural changes and more appreciation for the position of child counsellor.
The campaign is called ‘The 1,000 first days’, after the pedagogical importance of that period in a person’s life. For the next few weeks, flyers and coffee will be distributed to parents and sympathisers every Friday at the crèches. On March 25, the initiators want to demonstrate to the cabinet of competent minister Wouter Beke (CD&V).