Poland launches new child-care programme

The Polish government has unveiled a new EUR 1-billion programme for child care it claims is the “largest” in Europe.

Grzegorz Puda, the funds and regional policy minister, told a press conference on Thursday that following two years of negotiations with the European Commission the government had managed "to develop solutions that will serve all parents of children under the age of three."

"We are launching Europe's largest programme to develop care for the youngest children," he said.

According to Puda, the government has allocated a PLN 5.5 billion (EUR 1.17 billion) to the programme, dubbed "Maluch Plus" (Toddler Plus).

He said that these funds will enable the creation of 102,000 new jobs and the establishment of various places of care, including nurseries, temporary care facilities and the so-called day caregivers.

The Toddler Plus programme will be complemented by projects for training and improving the qualifications of staff in care institutions, Puda added.

He also said that he hopes that "this programme will be a benchmark for other countries."

"Other European countries put Poland as a leader in the use of European funds, but also a leader in solutions that other countries can later use," Puda argued.

In his opinion, funds from the Toddler plus programme will help parents take up work, and, consequently, "will trigger a snowball effect in the Polish economy."