The day-care center voucher: entitlement and application

The day-care center voucher was introduced in various cities in Germany a few years ago. With this, parents have the right to a place in a day-care center. You can find out here when and where you should submit the application for the day-care center voucher and what you have to consider when doing so.

The day-care center voucher is not available in every city

The Kita voucher system is used in some German cities such as Hamburg, Berlin, Mannheim and Erfurt. This system is intended to ensure needs-based and individual care for children. With the voucher linked to the child, parents have a legal right to a daycare place . Before you can register your child in a day-care center, you must apply for a day-care center voucher from your responsible youth welfare office. The voucher can then be redeemed at a facility of your choice, provided there is a place available there.

The daycare voucher is intended to ensure better care and education as well as a more efficient distribution of daycare places. In the previous system, a day-care center was subsidized by the municipality, regardless of how many children were cared for there. The day-care center voucher changes this as follows: after receipt, the facility redeems the vouchers from the responsible municipality and then receives reimbursement for the children actually cared for. As a result, the individual facilities are in competition with each other and the providers therefore have to respond to parents’ wishes more quickly.

Are you entitled to a daycare place with a daycare voucher?

With the day-care center voucher, you are not entitled to a place in a specific day-care center, as the facilities are responsible for allocating places. The responsible youth welfare office usually has to offer the parents a free place for each day-care center voucher issued. However, the alternative facility must not be more than 30 minutes away from the parents’ usual place of residence if public transport is used.

Apply for a day-care center voucher at the youth welfare office

You should apply for the day-care center voucher from your responsible youth welfare office three to six months before you want to start childcare. There you will also receive all the necessary applications as pre-printed forms. Since the youth welfare office also calculates the parental contribution for the daycare place, you must also enclose all the necessary documents for calculating this contribution with the application. You will also receive support from the youth welfare office in finding a suitable place for your child.

Approval period for the day-care center voucher

The day-care center voucher is usually granted for a period of twelve months. If you want to have your child looked after afterwards, you should submit a follow-up application to the responsible youth welfare office in good time.

Kita voucher: Calculation of the parental contribution

The youth welfare office calculates the statutory parental contribution for the day-care center voucher. This is then paid by the parents to the daycare provider.

Composition of the parental contribution

The parental contribution is made up of the childcare and meal allowances.

Care share: You pay this for the scope, i.e. the number of hours, of the care of your child. You also have to pay an additional fee if your child needs to be looked after in the facility outside of the regular opening hours.

Meal share: All parents have to pay this contribution for their child. The only exceptions are parents whose child has a half-day place without lunch.

For the day-care center voucher, the parental contribution or the costs for the day-care center are graded according to social criteria. When applying for the voucher, you have to tell the youth welfare office and prove how high your income is so that they can calculate the amount of the parental contribution. In the case of separated people, only the income of the person with whom the child lives is counted. The income of new life partners only counts if they have adopted the child. The parental contribution is calculated from the income from:

  • dependent work
  • minor employment
  • freelancer
  • commercial enterprise
  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • capital assets
  • rental and leasing

In addition, other income, such as maintenance payments to your child, pensions and benefits, benefits under SGB III and SGB II and under the Employment Promotion Act are taken into account. Other benefits under the Social Security Act, such as sick pay, benefits under SGB XII and housing allowance, also apply.

For the calculation you have to prove the gross income of the past calendar year. One-time income such as Christmas and holiday bonuses are added proportionately. If your income has not yet been determined, a preliminary calculation will be made based on your income from the previous year. However, you can apply for an income update if your income is likely to be lower than last year. If the income of both parents is to be used as a basis, it must come from the same calendar year.
Note: You do not have to report changes in income that have occurred in the meantime. These are only taken into account in the next calculation and only lead to a changed parental contribution from this point in time.

Care without a daycare voucher

In cities in which the allocation of kindergarten places is regulated according to the day-care center voucher system, the city only supports those institutions that participate in it. If you want to have your child looked after without a daycare voucher, you have to bear the entire cost of the care yourself and will not receive any subsidy from the city. These fees are then significantly higher than the parental contributions in the voucher system. In Hamburg, for example, they amount to around 1,050 euros per month for eight hours of daily care for a child under the age of three.

Kita voucher: Evidence to determine the need for care

If you apply for the day-care center voucher, you must always include the following with the initial application:

  • child’s birth certificate
  • Registration confirmation for the respective city

If you need care that goes beyond the number of hours specified in the legal entitlement, you must prove the actual need. For example, children in Hamburg are entitled to five hours of childcare every day when they reach the age of two. Are taken into account:

  • employment or training contract
  • certificate of enrollment
  • further training measures
  • Measure for reintegration into work
  • Participation in integration or German language courses

Kita voucher and the sibling discount

For families with several children, there is a sibling discount for the daycare voucher. This means that parents often have to pay a lower parental contribution for the second child who comes to the daycare center. All children up to the age of 18 living in your own household count towards the sibling discount. Children living outside of your own household for whom one of the two parents is responsible are also calculated.

What does the day care center do with the voucher?

The facility where you redeem the day-care center voucher can claim this from the state and will then receive a subsidy that depends on the age of the child, the approved scope of needs and the statutory parental contribution. The vouchers subsidize the average operating and investment costs of a childcare place. This includes:

  • Financing of fixed costs such as material and building costs
  • staff training
  • Preparation and follow-up of educational offers

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