Around 80,000 children will be able to attend daycare for free starting in September, the president of the National Confederation of Solidarity Institutions (CNIS) told Lusa, who was comfortable with the agreement reached with the government.
In the debate on the State of the Nation, which took place on Wednesday, Prime Minister António Costa announced that he had signed an agreement between the executive and the social sector to ensure childcare is free for children born on or after September 1, 2021 and attending for the first time on or after September 2022.
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The agreement was made with the União das Misericórdias Portuguesas (UMP) and the National Confederation of Solidarity Institutions (CNIS) to comply with one of the main measures of the Budget: Free daycare for 1st grade children in September.
Contacted by the Lusa agency, the president of CNIS did not disclose the amounts agreed with the Government and what amounts of copays will be paid, but added that as of September 1 the state pays the same amount for all children attending a kindergarten in the social sector for the first time, in order to ensure that it is free for the family.
According to Father Lino Maia, in the next school year there will be around 80,000 children attending free daycare, as he estimates that there are currently around 50,000 children attending free daycare because their parents are in the 1st and 2nd income bracket, to to which he admits that some 30,000 more will be added after the agreement with the Government.
According to the president of the CNIS, the amount paid by the State includes food and hygiene, for example, while parents retain responsibility for paying for extracurricular activities or necessary insurance.
The agreement established between the social sector and the Government is for a period of operation of eleven hours a day, providing for an additional payment in the case of establishments that operate for longer periods.
Lino Maia explained that from next September three payment models will coexist in relation to nurseries, such as free for children born on September 1, 2021, free stays for children from families of 1st and 2nd tranche of income, in addition to others whose monthly fee is defined according to their parents’ income, up to the maximum amount defined by each institution.
Lino Maia also said that the confederation he leads is comfortable with the agreement reached with the government, despite admitting that the objective was to obtain greater value.