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Germany: First Agreement to Implement “Good Day Care Act” Concluded

(Apr. 30, 2019) On April 25, 2019, the German federal government and the state of Bremen signed an agreement to implement what has been called the “Good Day Care Act.” The agreement is the first of sixteen agreements that the federal government will conclude with the German states over the course of the next several months. The Good Day Care Act aims to further improve day care quality, achieve uniform standards in all German states, and partially relieve parents from the costs of day care. For that purpose, the federal government will allocate an annual €5.5 billion (about US$6.1 billion) to the German states by 2020. ( Gesetz zur Weiterentwicklung der Qualität und zur Teilhabe in der Kindertagesbetreuung [Gute KiTa Gesetz] [Act to Further Improve the Quality of and Participation in Day Care] (Good Day Care Act), Dec. 19, 2018, BUNDESGESETZBLATT [BGBl.] [FEDERAL LAW GAZETTE] I at 2696, Federal Law Gazette website (in German); Press Release, Federal Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women, and Youth [Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ], Good Day Care Act. First Agreement Concluded in Bremen (Apr. 25, 2019), BMFSFJ website (in German).)
Features of the Legislation
The Good Day Care Act entered into force on January 1, 2019. (Good Day Care Act art. 5, para. 1.) There are several measures the legislation makes available to states to improve day care quality. ( Id . art. 1, § 2.) Each state must evaluate its initial position and decide which measures fit its individual situation the best. ( Id. art. 1, § 3.) For that purpose, implementation agreements with the federal government are concluded. ( Id . art. 1, § 4.)
The available measures are as follows:

Creating needs-oriented educational, child-rearing, and care offerings in day care, in particular to facilitate inclusive teaching of all children and extend hours of operation;
Ensuring a good teacher-child ratio;
Adopting measures to attract and keep skilled employees;
Strengthening services of day cares;
Improving the premises in day care facilities;
Supporting measures and holistic education that promote child development, health, nutrition, and exercise;
Supporting language development;
Expanding all-day day care;
Improving cooperation between the states and youth welfare services; and
Confronting substantive challenges in child care, particularly in implementing appropriate procedures to allow children to participate in decisions that affect them, ensuring that they are safe from sexualized violence, integrating children with special needs, working together with parents and families, using the potential of social spaces, and eliminating gender-based stereotypes. ( Id . art. 1, § 2.)

In addition, measures to help parents with the costs of day care also qualify under the legislation. ( Id .)
The German Federal Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women, and Youth is to monitor and evaluate the measures taken in the states annually and publish a report. ( Id . art. 1, § 6.)
Implementation of the Legislation
Bremen was the first German state to conclude an agreement with the federal government. The signing of agreements with Saarland and Brandenburg is due to occur in the next few weeks. Dates for the other German states are currently under discussion. (Press Release, supra .)

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