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Kids Queue for Day Care

The shortage of day care centres is infuriating parents with young children. Parents are especially perturbed by local authorities' poor preparation to meet childcare needs in unexpected situations, such as in the Nokia water crisis last winter. The contaminated water crisis in Nokia, among other things, led to the closure of two day care centres. In Nokia, many families now anxiously anticipate whether their children can get into day care once autumn arrives. Water Crisis Poor Excuse for Lack of Preparation

Parents in Nokia say the water crisis is being used as a scapegoat to make up for the fact that municipalities are ill-prepared to meet the child care needs of a growing population.

In Helsinki, some 5,000 spots are allocated for kindergarteners this autumn. The demand for additional day care in the capital city nevertheless persists. Many kids are in line for kindergarten.

"When employment figures are high young mothers go to work. We are now living in times when labour markets are attracting people -- this manifests itself in day care needs," says Hannele Lakkavaara of the Helsinki City Social Services Department.

"It's stressful knowing that I go back to work in August and we're still in queue for day care," says Katja Niemi, a teacher and mother of two in Helsinki.

Day care spots may not always open up close to home, and can be up to 15 kilometres away. Parents, however, don't have to agree to such long commutes. The clock is now ticking for municipal officials to think of solutions.

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