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Instructions for licensing, regulation of home daycares being drafted — ministry

Activists call for postponing drafting process as there are ‘still many obstacles to overcome’

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Jul 23,2018 - Last updated at Jul 23,2018

AMMAN — Ministry of Social Development said on Monday that it is currently drafting the by-law for the licensing of home daycares, expecting the number of licensed nurseries in the Kingdom to increase from 1,106 to 2,200 as a result of regulatory measures to the sector.  

The instructions build on the new system of nurseries published in the Official Gazette in May, requiring the licensing and classification of all domestic nurseries. 

Ministry Spokesperson Fawaz Ratrout Ratrout told The Jordan Times that the licensing of home daycares will increase the number of children benefiting from the service, explaining that “as opposed to commercial crèches, home daycare services come at a price commensurate with the income of the average Jordanian family”.

“Home nurseries are a reliable option for a large number of families due to their low cost, as well as their proximity in areas that do not count with licensed commercial crèches,” the official added, pointing out that the new instructions will “lead to the creation of a safer environment for children, making their custody a matter subject to the supervision of the ministry”.

In this regard, Ratrout stressed that the ministry has not been able to determine the number of children enrolled in home daycares up to this point, adding that no measures could be applied in case of malpractice due to the lack of organisation in the sector. 

However, despite the lack of existing regulations, the latest issue of the Jordanian Family Status Report revealed that home nurseries are still one of the most preferred options by parents when choosing daycare for their children. 

A striking 70.5 per cent of the families preferred the services offered by a relative, followed by home nurseries (33.6 per cent) and workplace daycares (25.2 per cent).

High costs, lack of safety and fear of risk were the reasons behind the choice of relatives and home daycares over commercial nurseries, according to the report, which added that the lack of accessible daycare options is leading women to unemployment, coupled with the lack of an appropriate working environment, the length of the average shift and its impact on children at the household.

For Ratrout, the new instructions will “contribute to an increase on the availability of daycares for all families in Jordan, thus enhancing the participation of women in the labour market and the economic development of the nation”.

“Many employers have raised the issue of women who commute long distances to work,” International Labour Organisation (ILO) gender consultant Reem Aslan commented, explaining that “it would be easier for parents working far from home to have their children attending a home based daycare facility near their neighbourhood rather than workplace crèches or commercial nurseries”.

“The licensing and regulation of home based daycares will support working women because that will provide them with access to quality, affordable daycare facilities,” Aslan continued, adding “It will also assist women who are already running home nurseries, and create more jobs for women at home.”

For Randa Naffa, founding member of the SADAQA campaign for a better working environment for women, the campaign agrees that “home based daycares are important for women”. 

However, she said "home caregivers should be protected, given incentives and provided with training, and, at the moment, we believe that the Social Development Ministry doesn’t have the capacities to provide that control and support”. 

The activist expressed her surprise over the announcement, noting that “this issue was previously discussed in a national committee along with stakeholders, and the verdict was that, for the time being, there are still too many obstacles to overcome before we can jump into licensing home daycares”. 

“What is required is a national programme aimed at understanding the needs and challenges faced by home daycares as a home based business,” Naffa stressed, calling for postponing the issue of licensing for at least two years "to address matters of quality control, capacity building and inspection mechanisms".

“Home based daycare facilities do exist in Jordan but their quality is not always great, and that is why we have to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and competencies,” Aslan added.

Responding to the remarks, Ratrout noted that the Ministry of Social Development has supported institutional daycares since the 1970s, assuring that the instructions will be developed in accordance with the National Framework for Workplace Daycares developed by SADAQA in partnership with the ILO. 

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