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Tallinn to standardize childcare service support procedures

Children and parents on the first day of school in Tallinn. September 1, 2022. Photo is illustrative.
Children and parents on the first day of school in Tallinn. September 1, 2022. Photo is illustrative. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The City of Tallinn plans to standardize its support procedure for childcare services. According to the proposed changes, subsidies would be paid to private kindergartens and daycare centers on a uniform basis.

The move will give parents the opportunity to choose between different services which have similar conditions, without having to apply for childcare service compensation on a month-by-month basis.

The need to establish a new support procedure for childcare services has arisen as support for services provided in both private pre-school institutions and in the form of private childcare, will be organized through the Tallinn Education Department.

Currently, childcare service compensation is paid via district governments by the Tallinn Welfare and Health Care Department. Parents are required to apply for compensation from their district government on a monthly basis.

According to Tallin Deputy Mayor Andrei Kante (Center), obtaining support for parents using childcare services will become significantly easier. "Firstly, parents will no longer have to apply for support monthly or quarterly, nor will they need to submit expense documents in the future. Parents only have to confirm their wish to grant support to the service provider in the city's e-service," explained Kante.

"As, due to the change, the support amount will be uniform for everyone, it will also positively affect those parents who have previously been allocated half of the support amount under the current system."

With the implementation of the change, support for private pre-school institutions and private childcare centers will be paid on a uniform basis. This means support for private childcare services will also be paid directly to service providers.

Parents will no longer need to apply for the compensation themselves. Instead, the service provider will submit the application for support to the Tallinn Education Department. The Education Department will pay and confirm the amount of childcare service support, and parents will not have to present any expense documents.

The subsidy provided by the city for private kindergartens and childcare is equal to the calculated cost of a municipal kindergarten place per child, which in 2023 is €264 per month.

In addition, service providers will continue to receive additional support for the second and subsequent children, who attend private kindergartens or childcare, as well as for any children with special educational needs. If a child is a resident of Tallinn, additional support will also be provided, if  other children in the same family also attend any other children's institution. The amount of additional support this year is €71.25. 

Within the limits set by Tallinn City Government, a child's food costs are also covered for the days they attend. From January, food costs for children of nursery age are covered up to €2.70 per day. For preschool age children, the amount is €3 per day.

The Tallinn Education Department pays the support to service providers once a month. The private childcare service provider must register the child in the Tallinn universal benefits database and declare the amount of support provided by the city on the invoice presented to the child's parent. Parents also have to confirm their wish to grant support to the service provider, through Tallinn's e-service portal, no later than the 15th day of the month.

The projected volume of subsidies for 2024 totals €5.6 million.

The draft regulation for the support of childcare services still needs to be approved by Tallinn City Council. The draft can be seen (in Estonian) here.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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