Israel’s lawmakers take responsibility for supervising childcare providers

Published October 26, 2018

History was made yesterday when the BvLF-supported Coalition for Education from Birth succeeded in pressuring lawmakers in Israel’s Knesset to pass a law that means the state will take responsibility for supervising providers of childcare services to children aged from birth to 3.

As of September 2019, any provider serving seven or more children will need to meet conditions for employing staff, inspections of buildings and other standards. MK Yifat Shasha Biton, Head of the Committee for the Rights of the Child, who led the bill through the Knesset, said:

“We have now come to the long awaited moment where the law for daycare supervision for toddlers has passed; a law that will regulate all frameworks with regards to personal safety of children, training of staff and the physical environment in which they stay. There is a long road ahead, but we are certain that together we can make a real change for the safety and well-being of toddlers in Israel.”

Data from the Central Bureau of Statistics shows that over 80% of parents go back to work. Until now, providers of early childhood services for the 0-3 age group had no regulatory requirements. Anyone in Israel could open a childcare centre – even convicted criminals or sex offenders. Although prices are high, staff are often untrained and on minimum wage.

The proposal for this law has existed for 15 years. It finally passed after three years of the Coalition’s work on advocacy, public outreach, awareness raising and lobbying, which has shown how the focused joint activity of civil society actors can shape early childhood policy.

The bill allocated ILS 280 millon (EUR 66 million) to the Ministry of Social Services for implementation – mostly for supervision and enforcement. The Coalition will closely monitor the implementation of the law.

The Coalition for Education from Birth was established through a partnership between ANU-Making Change and the Bernard van Leer Foundation in December 2015. It includes early childhood professionals, academics, caregivers and organisations such as the Israel National Council for the Child and the Israel Organization for Early Childhood.