Starting in January, the country’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs announced that Czech parents could establish home-based childcare services through neighborhood groups for a fee. However, those who operate such services will have to meet specific requirements, as will the families who use them. Parents who utilize these services must pay over 6,000 Kč per child per month.
The new law will allow those who operate neighborhood childcare groups to receive government subsidies to help cover expenses, including payment to parents. The maximum monthly payment for January 2024, when a child visits a childcare group on weekdays, will be 6,098 Kč.
While public kindergartens are far cheaper, ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 Czech koruna per month, private kindergartens in Prague can cost over 20,000 Czech koruna per month.
The law specifies that those who operate neighborhood childcare groups can care for up to four children, including their own. However, payment from the government will not apply to their children.
Operators or caregivers will be required to complete training, and if other family members are present in the household where childcare is provided, parents must be informed in advance. All household members must pass a background check and not be convicted of certain crimes such as drug possession or hate speech.
All parties involved must consent to providing services in the household. If a person in the household displays symptoms of illness, the operator must inform the child’s parents and limit or suspend service.
The law also introduces “family assistants,” who provide support and care to families with children in crisis or with special needs. The service will include assistance with childcare, support with household management, and the provision of expert social advice.
Family assistants must complete training in parenting skills, crisis intervention, and working with children with special needs. The service will be provided by local authorities and paid for by the government.
The new legislation is currently in a public comment period and may change. It must be approved by the government and lawmakers and signed by the president before it goes into effect, which is expected to be next year.