While the cost still pales in comparison to the price of unsubsidised childcare in other countries, parents in Denmark are now paying slightly more for childcare compared to recent years, broadcaster TV2 reports.
Research institute Bureau 2000 gathered rates from Denmark’s 98 municipalities for daycare, nursery, kindergartens and after school centres and compared present prices with the beginning of 2022.
The amount paid by parents for childcare with childminders (dagpleje), creches (vuggestue), kindergartens (børnehave) and after-school clubs (skolefritidsordning, SFO) increased by between 3.5 and 4.9 percent between the beginning of January 2022 and 2023, depending on the regional location in Denmark.
The analysts found the largest jump in the price of after-school clubs — 4.9 percent, or an average increase of 82 kroner to a total of 1,758 kroner per month. Price changes varied by region and some are notably higher. The largest increase was 300 kroner (to 1,777 kroner) in Slagelse Municipality.
For creches the average increase was 3.5 percent, giving a 39 kroner increase to 4,034 kroner monthly (lunch included), while for kindergartens a 3.6 percent average increase results in 2,591 kroner or 91 kroner more per month (lunch included).
While these figures seem modest indeed compared with childcare costs in countries such as the United States or United Kingdom, Denmark’s National Association of Parents (Forældrenes Landsorganisation, FOLA) fears the price increase will result in families withdrawing their children from childcare.
“It’s a catastrophe,” FOLA chairperson Signe Nielsen told TV2.
“In the after-school area, it will certainly have the consequence that more parents consider letting their children go [directly] home from school instead of to after-school club,” Nielsen said.
The FOLA chairperson said she had already heard parents discussing their options due to increased costs.
The trade union for childcare workers, BUPL, also expressed concern in comments to TV2.
Children in families facing financial difficulty could be disproportionately affected, BUPL committee member Lars Søgaard told TV2.
“We fear that fewer children will come to after-school, and sometimes this is also the children who need structured free time surroundings most of all,” he said.
Municipalities have increased the parent-contribution element of their operational costs for after-school clubs from 43 percent to 51 percent since 2009, TV2 reports. There is no limit on how much municipalities are allowed to raise the price paid by parents for the clubs.
In contrast, parents may not pay over 25 percent of the operating costs for creches, kindergartens or home childminding. The remainder is paid by the municipality.