New German law triggers rush to build day cares

Aug. 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

BERLIN, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Every child over the age of 12 months is guaranteed a spot in a day care under a new German law meant to help cure the country's low birth rate, officials said.

The law, which went into effect Thursday, would lower the previous age of 3 years old to 12 months old of children guaranteed a spot in day care, Spiegel Online reported Sunday.

The law is part of a parent-friendly initiative meant to boost Germany's birth rate, which at 1.39 children per women is one of the lowest in Europe.

Prior to the law, some parents had to wait years for a slot to open up in a day care and some gave up their jobs in order to stay home with their children, Spiegel Online said.

In the days leading up to the enactment of the law, there was a rush to build more day-care centers out of vacant drug stores, warehouses, theaters and even car-repair shops, the online news source reported.

The German Association of Critics warned there are more than 90,000 promised day-care slots that still weren't ready as of three weeks before the law went into effect.

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