Crisis in Amsterdam day care centers due to persistent staff shortage
Amsterdam's day care centers for children are facing massive pressure and problems due to the constant shortage of staff. Besides major staff shortages, the fact that self-employed professionals have to close gaps, and that parents in Amsterdam have to deal with long waiting lists add to the pressure in the capital’s day care centers.This was the conclusion of a study by AT5, which examined fifty day care centers. However, this staff development also means that the four-eyes principle, which was introduced to protect children from abuse, may not be maintained in the future.
The study by the news program AT5 revealed that more than seventy percent of day care centers in Amsterdam lack staff. This means that on average, three full-time employees in a childcare center are no longer enough.
The prognoses of those responsible for the day care centers do not indicate that this situation will change in the near future. This is because almost all of them firmly assume that the developments regarding the staff shortage will either remain the same or worsen. Accordingly, there is no positive outlook.
This has consequences not only for the staff, but also for the parents who depend on the day care centers. This is because parents have to expect long waiting lists: On average, parents have to wait up to 40 weeks before their child can be admitted to a daycare center. And the peak is 80 to 100 weeks, AT5 reported.
According to the news program, about four out of ten day care centers in the Dutch capital fear closure due to staff shortages. Furthermore, seven day care centers indicated in the AT5 survey that they had to terminate contracts with parents due to the staff shortage.
These developments also have a negative impact on the so-called four-eyes principle, a protection measure introduced so that a member of staff should never be alone with one or more children without being able to be seen or heard by another adult.
One participant of the study told AT5 that "If someone gets sick, we can hardly guarantee this rule.” Another participant said that "We always adhere to the professional-child ratio and the four-eyes principle. If there are sick employees and no substitute is available, we compensate for this by assigning a manager (with a diploma) to the group. If this is not the case either way, we will have to close a group for a day, but we will never stay open if the four-eyes principle cannot be maintained."