In Weilheim daycare centers, not all registered boys and girls will get a place from September. © IMAGO/Silas Stein
The city of Weilheim has done a lot in recent years to create childcare places, but it is still not enough: From September there will be long waiting lists.
Weilheim – "We have really done a lot in the past, the city of Weilheim is ahead of many other municipalities in this area, but it is still not enough," says Angelika Flock, 2nd Mayor. Currently, around 50 children who are to be placed by their parents in one of the crèches have not yet found a place. In total, the city offers around 230 places for the age group between one year and three years.
The situation is similar for kindergartens: the approximately 900 places for boys and girls between the ages of three and six have been taken, and 38 children are likely to be left empty-handed according to the current status and despite a legal claim. This means that the situation is significantly worse than it was a year ago, with a total shortage of around 100 places.
Lack of daycare places: Parents' occupation does not play a role in the allocation
The situation is somewhat better for the after-school care places: The approximately 175 places in the after-school care centers have been taken, and about 15 children are on the waiting list. "But these are mostly boys and girls who need care over lunchtime for an hour," says Stefan Popp, head of the city's children and youth office. A solution will probably be found for those affected. The more relaxed situation has to do with the fact that more places are being offered at all-day schools in the city, according to Flock.
In the case of crèches and kindergartens, some parents will have to be prepared not to get a place. This fate also threatened Silvia Cramerotti-Landgraf and her 17-month-old son. The woman from Weilheim had registered as prescribed via the city's online portal, named her preferred crèche plus two alternative options. She got a rejection for all three – at first: "Due to my persistent inquiries with the city, it now looks like we will get a place in the Nepomuk daycare center," says the mother.
If she didn't get a place, other children would suffer as well. Cramerotti-Landgraf works as a psychologist at Kinderhilfe Oberland. Without a childcare place, she would have to stay at home, "As a result, the children's aid would in turn lack a specialist. Many children who are dependent on psychological care would therefore remain uncared for," she says.
However, such criteria do not play a role in the award, nor does the question of whether the mother and/or father are employed. Who gets a place is decided solely by the sponsors of the individual facilities. Some take into account whether one parent is a single parent or whether a sibling is already attending the facility. However, there are no clear and uniform standards, which has already been criticized by many parents in the past.
When parents complain: "That's why we don't have more places as a city"
Preferential treatment of parents who both work, for example, would also be legally difficult, since after all, all parents have a legal right to a childcare place when their child is one year old, says Popp. What happens when parents sue for their legal claim? "Then they just complain, that's why we as a city don't have more places," said the 2nd mayor, who also informed at the press conference that the city is still looking for a solution for September. In Unterhausen, for example, negotiations are underway with the church to rent two additional rooms for childcare. However, this also requires staff – and that's hard to come by.
Another way to shorten the waiting lists would be to increase the number of groups, but this would have to be approved by the technical supervision at the district office. And then, of course, there is also the question of whether it is still possible to meet the quality standards, says Flock. She also pointed out how difficult it is to calculate in advance how many children will need a place in a childcare facility in the next few years. "It's a science in itself." Even a study commissioned by the city did not provide exact findings. And simply build an additional facility and keep it in place, so to speak? "This is not possible under any circumstances, the construction of a daycare center costs millions, and if the places are not allocated, the city will not receive any state funding," said the 2nd mayor, who referred to the city's other mandatory tasks and the tight budget situation.
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How do parents react when they receive a – final – rejection? "Many are desperate, but many also react with understanding," says Sabine Meindl-Leiter, who is responsible for the placement of children in childcare facilities at the city.
You can find even more up-to-date news from the district of Weilheim-Schongau on Merkur.de/Weilheim.