Record number of vacancies in Flemish childcare

The number of vacant positions in childcare in Flanders rose to 6,912 last year, a new record. The number illustrates the major crisis in the region's childcare sector, which is characterised by a severe shortage of staff.

The demand for staff in the sector has never been higher, according to figures obtained by Groen MP Celia Groothedde. The vacancies include supervisors and childcare workers as well as managers. "In 2021 we already registered a record with 6,200 vacancies. I thought we had reached the bottom, but apparently we can dig even deeper," said Groothedde.

According to Groen, the number of vacancies is a result of the working conditions in childcare. "Instead of 6 to 7 children per supervisor, childcare workers now have to look after 8 to 9 children per supervisor," the Flemish green party argues.

The figures illustrate a wider Flemish childcare crisis that has been ongoing for more than a year. In early 2022, a nursery in Mariakerke was permanently closed after a six-month-old died from alleged mistreatment, sparking a wave of abuse claims.

The crisis was one of the reasons for the resignation of former Flemish Minister of Welfare Wouter Beke (CD&V) in May 2022. The Flemish government's childcare agency is investigating more crèches and nurseries than before, leading to significantly more closures.



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