Advocacy leads to new legal framework in Israel

In July 2017, Israel’s Knesset passed the Council for Early Childhood Law, creating a new body that aims to take overall responsibility for government services for young children, from pregnancy to primary school. This milestone followed a long process of engagement with leading legislators by the Coalition for Early Childhood Education. In a major advance in 2018, Israel passed a new law giving the state responsibility for supervising providers of childcare to children up to age 3.

Coalition unites diverse sectors of Israeli society

The Coalition was set up through a partnership with ANU – Making Change, with the support of the Foundation, to promote national policy that expands access to affordable, quality early childhood care for the half a million children in Israel from birth to age 3. The country’s first advocacy coalition on the early years, it has brought together diverse members of Israeli society – including secular and religious, Arab and Haredi – around a single platform.

The Coalition is now recognised by decision makers and in policy circles as the go-to organisation for early childhood. It has met with dozens of Knesset members, participated in more than 20 Knesset meetings and attended several different government committees. It has elevated the early years in the public debate, with over 60 items appearing in the mainstream media, and mobilised thousands of parents to sign petitions, join demonstrations and contact their representatives.

A series of policy advances

Chaired by the Minister of Education and with the participation of the Minister of Welfare, Minister of Health and Finance Minister, the new Council will take a holistic view of early childhood in Israel and define priorities for investment in a comprehensive way.

The Coalition worked with the Council to define new frameworks to regulate services for children up to age 3. Previously, childcare providers faced no regulatory requirements. Starting in September 2019, any provider serving seven or more children will need to meet conditions for employing staff, inspection of buildings and other standards.

Among other advances, the Coalition’s activity has also contributed to a decision by the Ministry of Welfare to raise the salaries of childcare workers and cooks, and approve the construction of 216 new childcare centres over the next two years.