How to receive money for private childcare in Berlin if you can’t find a Kita spot

Throughout Germany there is a shortage of Kita, or childcare, spots. But a new Berlin programme is giving parents who can't secure a spot reimbursement for private care. Here's what you need to know.

How to receive money for private childcare in Berlin if you can't find a Kita spot
Children at a Berlin Kita in January 2018. Photo: DPA

Finding a Kita is hard in many towns and cities across Germany. Even though every child in Germany over the age of one is entitled to a daycare spot in a Kita or with a Tagesmutter, the reality often looks different.

READ ALSO: How a Berlin childcare crisis is leaving parents stuck at home with their kids

In Berlin, for example, there were nearly 30.000 more children under the age of seven in 2017 compared with 2013. 

This has led to an estimated shortage of Kita spots ranging between 3,000 and 10,000 in Berlin alone – Germany-wide there’s an estimated shortage of 270,000 spots

However, if a spot can not be provided, parents may be entitled to compensation. In Berlin, some districts now reimburse parents for their private childcare costs if they fulfill certain criteria. 

The keyword for this program is selbstbeschaffte Kindertagesbetreuung and here’s everything you need to know about it.

What is the “selbstbeschaffte Kindertagesbetreuung”?

The term loosely translates to “self-organized child daycare”. It means that parents who have not been able to secure a Kita spot for their child can hire a private caretaker and apply to have the costs reimbursed by the Jugendamt while they wait for a Kita spot.

As of right now, the Berlin program has been approved for the period September 1st, 2019 to August 20th, 2020.

Who can apply for it?

There’s a few criteria you need to fulfill to be eligible:

  • Your child needs to be at least 12 months old

  • You need to have a valid Kita-Gutschein (the voucher you need to sign a Kita contract)

  • You need to prove that you have unsuccessfully applied for a certain number of Kitas (the exact requirements seem to vary by district, so check with yours what is needed) 

  • You need to officially register with your local Jugendamt as a parent that hasn’t been able to secure a spot yet

Tip: You can also apply if you’re bridging the time period before you start a confirmed spot (up to three months, according to the above requirements).

How can I apply?

You have to apply for the program with your local Jugendamt office. Unfortunately, not all the districts have information readily available but I did find documents (in German) for both Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Pankow, which are linked below. 

Photo: DPA

A couple of other offices also provided information and I have summarized everything in a handy table – see below. I will update the table as and when we receive more information from other districts.

If we don’t have information for your district yet, call or visit your local Jugendamt to find out more.


What to do?

Friedrichshain- Kreuzberg

Link to PDF

See Fr. Dressel in person during their Sprechzeit (Tuesdays 9:00-12:00 or Thursdays 3 pm to 6 pm) at the Jugendamt, Frankfurter Allee 35-37, 10247 Berlin, room 4116. Contact: 030-90298 4327, [email protected]


Contact person: Fr. Grieb (030 90296-5142)


Send an email to [email protected] with the subject line: “Antrag auf Selbstbeschaffte Betreuung”


Link to PDF

Mail your application (see required information in document on the right) to Jugendamt Pankow, Fachdienst 5 – Kindertagesbetreuung, Postfach 730113 13062 Berlin or [email protected]


Visit or call the Bezirksamt Reinickendorf (Jugendamt Tagesbetreuung, Nimrodstr. 4-14, 13469 Berlin) on Tuesdays 9am-1pm or Thursdays 3pm-6pm, or contact at (030)90294 – 6676 or [email protected]


Contact the Kita-Koordination: Tuesdays between 9:00 and 12:00 (030-90 279 – 2444) or in-person on Thursdays between 3pm-6pm (Rathaus Spandau, 1st floor, room 161)


Reimbursement is not available. But you can apply for help with your search; email [email protected]

How many hours will be covered and what are the financial details?

The number of hours that will be covered are based on what’s been approved on the Gutschein (for example, with a full-time voucher, you can get up to 7-9 hours covered a day).

However, the maximum amount that will be reimbursed is based on what the district would normally pay the Kita. Pankow lists this as up to €1,349.63 a month for an “outside caretaker” or up to €504 if a family member takes care of your child (both minus the €23 you would normally pay the Kita for lunch).

I’ve been approved, now where can you find a suitable caretaker for your child?

It is important to note that you have to find a caretaker yourself. This can be a babysitter, nanny, a co-working space with childcare or even a family member (but note that you will not get as much money back if a relative takes care of your child – see above point).

The caretaker has to be able to send you monthly invoices detailing the days and times they took care of your child (and is responsible for paying taxes, social security, etc.). You will need to submit the invoices to the Jugendamt to get your money back.

This leads me to another important point: You have to pay the caretaker first and then pass the invoice on to the Jugendamt, so this may be a substantial financial burden to consider!

(I was approved for this program last year when the re-opening of our Kita was delayed and unfortunately, in my case, it took a few months to get all the money back.)

Anything else I should know?

Check what date the agreement (and reimbursement) will kick in – the Jugendamt may only start paying from the date your request was approved from their end (not the date you applied).

This article by Lisa Hübner Moreno was originally published on Kietzee, which helps Berlin parents find a kita near them.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


All children in Germany should return to school in March, state ministers agree

State education ministers in all 16 states of Germany have agreed that children of all ages should start attending school again this month.

All children in Germany should return to school in March, state ministers agree
Photo: DPA

“The Council of Education Ministers is in agreement. We want all pupils to go back to school in March – even if this will often mean alternating classes for the time being,” said Britta Ernst, head of the education council.

In Germany education policies are set at the state level, but state education ministers confer regularly on policy in the Council of Education Ministers.

On February 22nd, primary schools and daycares (Kitas) reopened in ten states.

READ ALSO: ‘The right thing to do’: How Germany is reopening its schools

Different concepts were deployed with some states bringing kids in on a rotating basis, while others chose full classes with fixed “bubbles” of children, and others ordered compulsory masks even in class.

“Overall, the opening of primary schools has gone well,” said Ernst, who said that attendance must now be extended to teenagers.

“Even if mutated viral strains change the picture, we cannot afford to wait for a few more weeks. The school closures come with too high a social price for that to happen,” said Ernst, who is education minister in Brandenburg.

“Children and young people are suffering greatly due to the restriction on their contacts – not just educationally but psychologically. We can’t be indifferent to this.

“It’s clear to me that we must not only open up primary schools, but also at least go to alternate teaching at secondary schools,” she added.

Push for more digital infrastructure

The SPD politician also called on the federal government to pour more money into upgrading digital infrastructure in schools.

“The investments needed to keep our schools permanently up to date with digitalisation cannot be made by the states alone,” Ernst said. 

The education ministers have cited a study by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which found that schoolchildren did not play a major role in driving the pandemic, to support their position.

More accurately, the RKI had found in its study that “schoolchildren tend not to play a major role in driving the epidemic, but that the incidence of infection is similar to the incidence in the overall population.”