German childcare system on the brink of collapse, inquiry reveals

German childcare system on the brink of collapse, inquiry reveals

Figures from Germany’s Family Affairs Ministry have found that the federal republic is lacking nursery spaces for almost 380.000 children. The Left Party (die Linke) is calling on the federal government to fund childcare enough to meet demand.

Desperate dearth of childcare spots in Germany

A parliamentary inquiry initiated by the Left Party has found that during 2021, Germany was lacking 378.000 open spots at nurseries, Kitas and daycare facilities.

Since children in Germany are legally entitled to free childcare from the age of one, Left Party spokesperson for children and youth policies, Heidi Reichinnek, has accused the federal coalition government of “withdraw[ing] further responsibility” and failing to make policy changes that would open up new childcare facilities and spaces.

The deficiency of childcare facilities is more pronounced in western Germany, where government figures predict that between 244.000 and 310.000 more children under three will be short of a Kita spot by 2030. Forecasts for eastern Germany aren’t much more promising, where only 5.600 additional spaces are expected to be made available for children before 2030.

Childcare system is chronically underfunded, says die Linke

Reichinnek said that the German government is not currently doing enough to meet the need for childcare in the federal republic. According to the inquiry findings, 50 billion euros a year would be required to sufficiently fund the sector. At the moment, only 2,8 billion euros per year is put aside for building childcare facilities in Germany.

Since federal funding is largely absent, filling the funding gap is left to local authorities and federal states. Reichinnek said that the current state of affairs was bringing the state childcare system to the brink of collapse.

Thumb image credit: rkl_foto /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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BrittanyButler2 11:02 | 28 October 2023

From the other perspective, I currently work at an international Kita, where there are loads of employee rights violations, dangerous situations we are stuck with because of low staff and a culture of taking advantage of people, taking shortcuts and decisions made out of desperation over and over.