THE HAGUE–The Dutch government is allocating more than US $3.5 million in its 2019 budget for child care in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
The amount was mentioned in the 2019 budget of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour SZW on Budget Day, Tuesday, September 18. It is not known at this stage exactly what the money will be spent on, as that depends on the plans that will be drafted with the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
“A precondition for the (structural) financing is a sufficient level of the quality of child care. An integral plan of approach will be drafted together with the public entities to improve the quality and (financial) accessibility of child care in the Caribbean Netherlands in the coming years,” stated State Secretary of Social Affairs and Labour Tamara van Ark in the budget remarks.
Child care is an important issue that affects both the children and the parents, according to Van Ark. “Child care is a supportive factor in the development of a child and at the same time contributes to a safe care facility for children which enables parents to work without worries. Child care also offers opportunities to facilitate a better transition into education.”
She noted that the cost of good child care is high and that this often hinders parents from making use of these facilities. She explained that the responsibility for child care and youth policy is a task of the public entities.
Financing for child care currently takes place via the so-called free remittance (“vrije uitkering”) and the integral means. The SZW Ministry incidentally contributes to child care, while the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports VWS subsidises after-school institutions and activities.
Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Antje Diertens of the Democratic Party D66, who made a case for more investments in child care during a debate with Van Ark and State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops last week, called the increase of US $3.5 million “good news.”
According to Diertens, the additional funds for child care showed that cooperation with the islands was working. She was glad that the 2019 budget contained “much positive news.” “A next step is that we keep working together because we want everyone to have the same opportunities.”
In total the ministries in The Hague reserved 343 million euros in their 2019 budgets for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. This is 9.5 million euros more than was allocated for 2018, and even more when compared to the 307 million euros that was spent on the islands in 2017.
In revenues, the Dutch government expects to collect 140 million euros in 2019, consisting of taxes and premiums. This is 17 million euros less than in 2018.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/80815-us-3-5m-for-child-care-in-caribbean-netherlands