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Parents will 'drink away' new child care subsidy

The Local · 27 Oct 2009, 17:58

Published: 27 Oct 2009 17:58 GMT+01:00

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One of the most controversial policy decisions already made by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new centre-right coalition is the introduction in 2013 of the so-called Betreuungsgeld, money paid to parents deciding to keep their children out of public day care.

The €150 a month for each child under three years old was a key demand of the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, during coalition negotiations. But the subsidy has been dubbed the “stove premium” by critics, who fear it discourages women with children from working. Others, such as Buschkowsky from the centre-left Social Democrats, see it as a threat to efforts to integrate immigrants into German society.

What were your thoughts when you heard about the introduction of the Betreuungsgeld?

That apparently there are still people that just don’t get it. If you want to bolster education-shy parents and decrease the opportunities of their children this is certainly the best way to do it.

Why is that?

Because the lives of the so-called uneducated classes on social welfare benefits will become more comfortable. Children will become an even greater income factor. With other words: (Merkel’s coalition) is preserving the lower classes and at the same time is making youth criminal sentencing laws tougher. That’s a policy of pure cynicism for society.

It sounds as if you’re rather frustrated.

I am, to put it mildly, stunned. Subsidies that keep kids in their own environment rather than have them integrate? This is completely backwards. This proposal ignores the accomplishments of almost all OECD countries and several scientific studies. Experts agree that we have to invest in children and not in their parents. The new coalition is now ruining all that with brute force.

What exactly do you fear most?

That the Betreuungsgeld won’t be spent on supporting and educating the children. Speaking plainly: lower class Germans will drink it away and lower class immigrants will bring over Granny for day care.

Granny doesn’t necessarily have to be bad for kids..

No, but in 99 percent of all cases she unfortunately won’t speak German. Just as little as the parents do. Day care is so important for that reason alone. And it should be as early as possible, because the younger the children are, the easier it is to grow up bilingual.

Can’t preschool fix that?

Story continues below…

Preschool and day care is not mandatory, which is something I’ve been demanding for a long time. If children with almost no or broken German go to school, they are often trapped for the rest of their education.

But if families have more money that doesn’t have to be bad either.

Single mothers are some of the socially worse-off people in Germany. Something should have been done for them, but this €150 won’t help them at all. They still have to go to work. But many other families will now wonder if they’d rather pay for day care for their children or make money. Free day care like in Berlin starting in 2011 is utopian elsewhere. We’ve tried to integrate families into society via the day care centres for years. Now we’ll send them away with a subsidy if they stay behind closed doors. It simply can’t really be true.

Heinz Buschkowsky (61) has been the mayor of Berlin’s Neukölln district since 2001. The Social Democrat has repeatedly tried to highlight the multicultural neighbourhood’s social problems. This interview by Sandra Dassler originally appeared in German in Der Tagesspiegel. Translation by The Local.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:51 October 27, 2009 by Edin
You Germans just can't get it can you?! Firstly you have to define what is exactly meant by integration, because for many of you this actually means assimilation, and you go around blabing about it like Borg from Star Treck.

If you want immigrants to really integrate, you have to make a better effort. You want Turks to get integrated but you ban teachers wearing headscarf in schools. You don't have any reckognition of immigrant traditions, holidays, etc. By your nacionalist merrits, you make it almost impossible for, I emphasise, HIGHLY educated immigrants, to get higher, managerial and political positions.....und so weiter. Can you please find me a single immigrant who hasn't fealt this on his own skin, at work, immigration office or just a public place.

Your assimilation plans will fail, and not because immigrans are uneducated and stupid, on contrary, they are clever enough to see your trying to completely deprive them of their origins, Germanize them.
20:14 October 27, 2009 by duckys
welp... looks like to look for job back in the states.... i can stand this crap... any longer... great!!! I thought i was getting somewhere... guess not...
20:38 October 27, 2009 by The-ex-pat
"If you want immigrants to really integrate, you have to make a better effort. You want Turks to get integrated but you ban teachers wearing headscarf in schools. You don't have any reckognition of immigrant traditions, holidays, etc. By your nacionalist merrits, you make it almost impossible for, I emphasise, HIGHLY educated immigrants, to get higher, managerial and political positions.....und so weiter."

Yet the majority of the people coming to Germany come from counties that would have absolutely no acceptance of Western attitudes, ie alcohol, women in public, relationships, our dress standards, however you expect Europe/Germans to accept everyone unconditionally.

"Can you please find me a single immigrant who hasn't fealt this on his own skin, at work, immigration office or just a public place."

Also what is your definition of an immigrant?? We are all immigrants here at The Local are we not. We all live and work in Germany, just like the people you point out. Should I start campaigning for a few English nation holidays to be introduced just because I live here and want to feel what, English in Germany????
00:48 October 28, 2009 by DavidtheNorseman
Children under 6 need to be with their mothers.
10:18 October 28, 2009 by Johnne
Thanks so much Edin, you said it all...I´m child of an immigrant so I know better. Thank you very very much sir.
10:28 October 28, 2009 by moistvelvet
"Children under 6 need to be with their mothers."

Or fathers ;-)

I was a home dad for the first 3 years and I intend to do the same with the second child despite the wife insisting on full time day area after 1 year.

However I do agree with the article about language, these children of immigrants need to be in some German language setting daily long before they start school.

Edin, you make a good point about the German attitude to qualifications gained outside Germany. In many cases, whether it be a bus license or Bachelor of Science degree, Germany does seem to be very selective in what they consider a credible qualification if it isn't German.
11:50 October 28, 2009 by eddymanly
Edin is right!
13:36 October 28, 2009 by LancashireLad
"Children under 6 need to be with their mothers"

Did you bother asking your children what they wanted? (Do you have any?)

That is actually not as stupid as it may sound.

Each have my two have been in day care since their first birthday. they've loved the entire experience. They make friends on the playground and can share things more easily than I've seen from most other children. When they had the emergency cover in the Creche/Kindergarten over Pfingsten (same organisation, son was in Kindergarten, daughter in Creche) they had all of the children in one kindergarten group. We had a fight every morning after that to get my daughter back in the Creche - she wanted to stay in the Kindergarten. She knew exactly what she wanted, and she started in the kindergarten at 2 1/2 because all the carers could see she was more than ready for it.

I myself was in school (no, not kindergarten, school with desks and teachers etc. ) at 3 1/2. Did me no harm whatsoever.

Zero tolerance, as the above statement suggests, has been proven many times to be counter productive, and in the case of childcare it definitely lies with the individual child *as well as* parental circumstances.

But being paid to keep your children at home??? Madness. To develop healthily as socially aware and responsible people, children need contact with peers much more than continual contact with Mummy/Daddy. I agree that this law is ridiculous - especially for the children if nobody else.
17:17 October 28, 2009 by maxbrando
An amusing contrast: A picture of muslims atop an article about drinking!! ha ha ha!!
10:33 October 30, 2009 by derExDeutsche
WOW!!! Has someone here figured it out?!?

So, a party WANTS to KEEP and GROW its voter base by rewarding complete dependence on the State? Say it ain't so! Then it ROBS more money from productive citizens to stick the 'Criminals' this policy creates in Govt. run Corrections Systems?

OMG! And all this on a website about Germany? who would have ever thought?!? Is Germany waking from its slumber, too? The NWO is coming, where do you stand?
16:27 October 30, 2009 by 247redeemed
Grandma's are FAR superior to STRANGERS. This society is crippled for the simple fact that moms are not moms and dads are not dads. The communists wanted the STATE to be the "moms & dads" and so it still is today. This has bred selfish parents who have abdicated their duties to their children. Hurrah for Angela Merkel who is only trying to turn a societies heart back to the hearts of the children!! What a novel idea! Stay home and love the children I CHOSE to bring into this world.
15:47 November 2, 2009 by William Thirteen
hmm...150 per month is 1800 per year...if i can buy a child for 2000 i can start getting a positive return on investment after only 14 months! perhaps purchase a dozen or so, bundle the returns together as 'state backed security' and sell shares to interested investors. of course i'll need an independent risk evaluator to certify the shares - one knows how hard it is to move any 'sub-prime' assets these days...
23:04 November 3, 2009 by dleephotography
Edin and Moistvelvet, maybe you should examine the definition of Integration and assimilation. Turkish teachers wearing headscarves in German schools IS NOT assimilating. How many native born german teachers do you see in headscarves???!!! and why is it asking too much for the auslanders to speak enough german to get by on a daily basis?? this is just another example of multiculturalism gone haywire when will you ever learn???
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