Day care in Finland

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Here you can find information on day care in Finland. The options include municipal or private day care and child home care allowance.

Once parents’ right to parental leave has ended, parents can choose either municipal or private day care for their child or child home care allowance. 

The official name for day care in Finland is early childhood education and care (ECEC). ECEC is part of the Finnish education system, and together with pre-primary education and basic education form a whole that progresses consistently in terms of the child’s growth, development and learning, laying a foundation for lifelong learning. All children under school age are entitled to ECEC even if one or both parents are at home. 

If you are interested in pre-primary education, read more on the page Pre-primary education in Finland.

Municipal day care

Municipalities provide day care in day care centres, group family day care and family day care for children aged 0–6-years. You have to apply for a place in municipal day care four months before the care starts. Parents can get a place in two weeks if they get a job or start studying. Read more about early childhood education and care on the service.

The fee charged for municipal day care depends on the family’s income, size and the number of hours per week the child spends in early childhood education and care. Read more about the criteria for calculating ECEC fees on the website of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Private day care

Private day care centres and group family day care centres provide private day care for children aged 0–6-years. To get a place in day care, apply directly to the day care centre concerned. You can also look for a private family caregiver to look after your child in their home, or hire a caregiver in your own home.

The prices for private day care vary. You can get private day care allowance for the fees from the Social Insurance Institution (Kela), meaning that private day care is not necessarily much more expensive than municipal day care. If you pay for a caregiver in your home, you become an employer, and you must fulfil an employer’s obligations. 

You can get more information on private day care from the municipality where you live or are moving to. You can find more information on private day care allowance on Kela’s website.

Child home care allowance

You are entitled to child home care allowance if you have a child under 3 years old who does not have a place in municipal day care. Parents do not have to look after their child at home themselves - the caregiver can be another person. Read more about child home care allowance on Kela’s website.

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